The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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moxiemolly's picture

I was watching these beauties actively springing in the oven when I realized that I forgot to add the salt! No wonder they were so active. I used my pizza stone for the first time and got beautiful, crunchy crusts. In leu of a peal I sprinkled corn meal on pieces of parchment paper and slid them onto the stone which was already in the oven. It worked like a charm! I steamed the oven with about a cup of water which was poured into a hot roasting pan on the bottom. Look at that bubble! 

They smell wonderful and actually don't taste that bad. I wouldn't say cardboard but just a little flat. Great with salted butter!

I think for my next batch I will do half the salt and see what happens. My current recipe calls for two teaspoons so I will try one and see if they look like this. More tomorrow, thanks for reading. Molly

janij's picture

Over the holidays my husband has been trying to increase his carbon footprint by leaps and bounds.  This time of year is quiet for us, we own an A/C and heating company in Texas.  So summers are crazy and winters allow us some time to play.  Our big new toy has been the wood fire oven.  I didn't realize how into cooking in it my husband would become.  I swear he has decimated the chicken population around here in recent weeks and I have made more bread than I could really give away.  I am waiting for my neighbors to not look me in the eye and try to run whenever they see me coming with anything in my arms.  I actually had one guy down the street, who I have never met really, almost turn down a chicken from us.  I guess I would be suspicious of someone handing out chickens I didn't know.  As you can see, I am getting desperate for takers.  Last night as I was trying to get ride of 3 of the 6 loaves we baked yesterday, which is what I got on here to write about in the first place, I gave them to friends of our neighbors who just happened to be leaving the neighbors house when I walked out the door.  Don't know them either.  It was rather funny.  I asked them if they would like a loaf of bread.  One of the guys replies, "Umm, we have a loaf at home thank you."  I told him it was homemade and baked in a wood fire oven and he gave in.  I didn't wait to hear what the second guy had to say, I just shoved the bread in his hands and knocked on the neighbor's door.  I am sure people are somewhere thinking I am very strange indeed.  So I need to find a soup kitchen or something to donate bread to.  That is one of the things I would like to do this year is give more.  So if anyone knows where to find places to donate bread I am open to ideas.

But back to reason for this entry.  Kyle, my husband, decided the other night he wanted to make the bread.  From start to finish all by himself.  So I asked what kind he wanted.  He wanted a light rye hearth bread.  So thanks to Hamelman and DiMuzio, I got out a calculator and made up a formula for a 20% rye, 40% preferment, 65% hydration dough.  In hind sight I should have gone to 68% to get a little bigger holes but I didn't want the dough to be too slack for my begninner husband who would have to mix the dough by hand.  The DLX is too small for 6 loaves.  So Kyle ground the rye, made the poolish, learned the french fold, and stretch and fold.  Where would I have been with out all the excellent videos I have found from this site?  I would ahve been in trouble indeed!  I weighed out all the ingredients and helped with shaping and such, but Kyle did the bulk of the work by himself.  I even tried hard not to hover!  The dough turned out really nice.   I thought he did an excellent job for his first rodeo so to speak.  But there are 2 big tricks with baking in a WFO.  The first is timing.  It is hard to get the loaves and the oven ready at the same time.  Lucky for us it has been about 50 deg here so I put the loaves in the garage to retard/proof while the oven temp gets in range.  The second trick is loading the bread.  I realized I needed a narrow peel.  Since Kyle is an avid fisherman he suggested buying a oar and sanding the varnish off.  It works like a champ!!  I would have never thought of it.  But it is hard to get all the loaves in and spaced correctly.  So below are some pictures.  One is the oar, sanded and oiled.  One is of the Counrty Rye oaves we made yesterday.  And we will see if I find any other ones to put in.

My next experiment is going to be with different grains.  I recently purchased 50lbs of spelt berries, 50lbs or durum berries and 50lbs of hard white spring wheat.  So I would like to come up with a formula and do a test and see the differences in flavor and behavior.  I am thinking of doing about 50% whole grain and 50% AP flour.  I will let you know how that goes.

The Oar- or new Peel

The loaves in the oven...nicely spaced if I may say so myself.  Or atleast better than before! :)

Lastly, the crumb..


SylviaH's picture

My daughter, her husband, 3 children and Moochie, one of their dog's just returned back home here in San Diego from a 4 day sightseeing trip to New Orleans.  This was one of their many stops.  Moochie goes everywhere..see his little ear and foot in the photo!  I bet he even got to enjoy some Beignet!

 Beignet at the Cafe Du Monde



Roger A Hoffman's picture
Roger A Hoffman

Has anyone offered info re: yeasted doughnuts? I'm new here and since I just made a batch of great baked doughnuts, I thought I'd ask.

tssaweber's picture

It has been quite some time since I posted on my favorite website. But (un)fortunately the business and consulting world is holding me up from blogging and bread baking. But before I disappear again in the offices of the corporate world in upstate NY, I wanted to share this picture I found by accident in one of my old bread books today.


My in-laws from Switzerland have celebrated New Year with us here in the super cold Midwest and brought a crown for the 3 Kings Day (1/6/2010) with them. Of course it was their expectation that I bake the traditional "Drei Koenigs Kuchen". I had to find a recipe for this to happen, but I guess I was successful.


I still have to work on the formula to fine tune it, but it is more or less an enhanced Zopf dough. If done I will post the formula. If some of the Swiss TFLer have their own it would be great if they could share. During the search for this recipe I found the page shared above. Of course now my quest begins to find all this cantonal formulas, bake and adapt them to the US environment.


Happy New Year to all.


occidental's picture

Hi all, I've been enjoying all your posts over the last week or so, it looks like many of you produced great breads for the holidays.  I did some baking over the holidays I need to catch up on blogging about.  I was away from home so in other words, away from the mixer, the baking stone, my arsenal of flours and the sourdough I am used to working with.  Add to that new brotforms I received for Christmas and you don't know what will happen.  Thankfully I have been reading up here at the fresh loaf and this gave me the opportunity to experiment with new methods and get out of my comfort zone.  My bakes included Vermont Sourdough, Susan's Simple Sourdough and Anis Bouabsa's baugettes.  Many of the things I tried came after reading ehanner's great post of eye opening techniques .  If you have not read that post I'd suggest you do.  You may develop a new technique or be led to many other great posts that challenge your routines.  I did all my mixing using stretch and folds and all my baking started with placing the loafs in a cold oven using the no preheat method.  I was pleased with most of the results.  The exception is that my overnight proof of the Vermont Sourdough stuck in the new brotform I received and getting it out deflated it such that it was nearly ruined.  The flavor was good but the crumb was pretty much non-existent.  Now that I'm home I've tried them again with rice flour with better results.  One bread I had not tried that I will be baking often is Susan's Simple Sourdough - just the right size for a household of 1 - thanks Susan!    Anyhow, Happy New Year to all.  A couple pictures follow...

Vermont Sourdough (not the loaf that stuck):

From bread


Susans Simple Sourdough:


From bread
trailrunner's picture

When nothing seems to be rational in my life and I have lost all of my center I can always turn to baking...and so it has been for 37 years or so. I made my first Challah in 1976 or it is again...almost every week since then. I had some extra "discard" starter and bananas and applesauce that I made last summer and lo and behold it becomes bread and muffins. My freezer is full and for a little while the demons are held back.

Photobucket Photobucket The formula for the "discard" banana bread has been posted before in this blog and also elsewhere on TFL. I would be glad to tell you how it came about if you like. The Challah are from a formula for this...cups and measures...if you like that too can be posted. c

laceyloo's picture

Hi Everyone!

My name is Lacey and I've got a three year old daughter (Gracie) that has a wheat allergy. I've been experimenting with sprouted wheat flour and no knead baking for about six months now and to be honest haven't had much luck with it. I don't know technical baking terms, but sprouted wheat flour seems to come out more dense than when I make the same recipe with regular un/bleached bread flour. I'm talking no bubbles inside, thick thick crumb on the outside, etc. Kindof blah tasting. And frankly, that stuff is expensive. We're talking $4 for 1 lbs, when you can get 5 lbs of king arthur for the same price. So there've been some major disappointments along the way. but now I'm experimenting using other flours and have had some luck in the baking front.

I bought myself Jim Lahey's book about No Knead baking for Christmas. He is my own personal baking God. I've made some Stecca baguettes last week using organic amaranth flour and king arthur flour. And today I baked my carrot juice bread. The smell was amazing! I haven't cut it open yet  but it is singing like songbird and that is a good sign. Here is the result:


No Knead Carrot Bread



3/4 cup organic amarathn flour

2 1/4 cup king arthur bread flour

1/4 tsp instant yeast

1 cup freshly juiced carrot juice. (I did this using my newest gadget - Jack La Lanne juicer) It took a small bag of carrots to make this much.

1/2 cup water, plus some if needed

1 1/4 tsp salt

~1/2 cup or more chopped dried cranberries. I didn't measure them out.

~1/2 cup chopped pecans. Again, didn't measure. I eyeballed it.

wheat germ, sunflower seeds and more flour


Combine flours, salt and yeast together. Add in carrot juice and water. Mix with a wooden spoon. Add pecans and cranberries. Dough should be really sticky to touch. Scrape stuff off side of bowl back into the dough. Cover with saran wrap and a thick kitchen towel and store in a warm place for 12-18 hours. On a well floured surface, dump and scrape out dough and fold over on itself several times until you form a ballish shape. Coat a tea towel with wheat germ, sunflower seeds and flour enough so the dough won't stick. Place dough seem side down in towel and cover up to let rise for another hour or two. Once dough has risen enough to hold a finger imprint - heat oven to 450 and place your 4-5 qt stock pot with lid in oven to heat up. Once oven and pot is completely heated pop dough in pot, cover and bake for 20 minutes. Take lid off and bake until brown and golden, more if you want a thicker crust.

Take out of oven, place on cooling rack and let it sing away. And wa-la. Delicious and healthy bread!

calliekoch's picture

I received a copy of "Breads From La Brea Bakery" for Christmas and today made the bagels from it. I have made bagels from other recipes 3 or 4 times before and had reasonable results. These were by far the best looking ones. I have yet to taste them but they are also the first bagels I have made using sourdough so I think they will be good.

The recipe calls for both white starter and all white flour. I always keep my starter whole wheat and also replaced half the flour with whole wheat. Otherwise, I followed the recipe. For toppings I used poppy seeds, sesame seeds, cinnamon & sugar, and a couple were left plain.

For anybody interested in making these, the Wild Yeast website has a post based on the La Brea bagel recipe.Bagels

Bagels close


smasty's picture

Oh my, oh my, oh my.  I finally made Shiao Ping's Chocolate Sourdough.  Let me first say, SP--you really need to publish a cookbook.  It would be full of great recipes and fun, witty stories.  I thank you so much for bringing us this recipe.  Words just don't describe how good this is.  "Epic" is a good starting place...kudos to your son.  I made this as written.  All I had in the pantry were milk chocolate chips (large chips, about double the size of the regular bittersweet chips).  The biggest challenge I had was chips popping out of the dough as it was folded...I just poked them back in. The crumb is delectable...light, fluffy, but substantial at the same time.  Nice crunch to the crust, but delicate as well.  All my SD breads have used a 125% starter, so I needed to convert my liquid levain to a semi-stiff levain for this recipe.  This makes 4 nice-sized loaves.  Perfect for sharing!  This is just so incredible...everyone needs to make it!!

Shiao Ping's Chocolate SD Page


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