The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


Shutzie27's picture

The following are some photos of breads I've bakes since last winter. It's fairly obvious I'm just learning and a bit timid (i.e., I could stand to leave the bread in longer for browning, but I'm always gripped by this abject terror that the bread will burn). I'm mostly posting these so I have a kind of pictoral catalougue of my attempts and can see how I'm (hopefully) improving with practice and over tiime.

This was my first loaf of sourdough bread. A bit pale, and not particularly crusty, but it was actually shockingly good and had a definate sourdough taste.


 This is an Italian bread I made about two weeks ago. I was happy with the taste and the way the Rosemary stuck to the crust, but again, it went soft and seemed a bit pale.


This is a fresh honey wheat loaf I made. It's a bit darker than the picture shows (I have my Blackberry set to auto flash). I would have liked much, much, much more honey taste in it, but the recipie already called for 1/3 of a cup. Also, I was a bit disappointed with the wrinkle on top. Still, though, not awful at any rate.



My other pictures apparently are bmps, so I can't seem to upload them.

kydave467's picture

I am looking for bread knife blades approx. 10" long.  Anyone know a source?

teefay's picture


Sorry I havent posted in a while but there is a great Banana Coconut Recipe that's really easy to make in the best bread machine which is my Zojirushi BBCCX20. I havent  tried this recipe in any other bread machines but I am sure it will turn out just fine. Anyways, here goes..


Banana Coconut Nut Bread for bread machine

-------- ------------ --------------------------------

3/4 cup Banana -- mashed
3/4 cup Buttermilk
1 1/2 Eggs
3 tablespoons Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/3 cup Coconut
1 1/2 tablespoons Vital gluten -- to 3 tbls
3 2/3 cups Whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons Yeast
1/2 cup Nuts - chopped

Add ingredients according to manufacturer's directions. Medium color setting.
Makes 1-1/2 lb loaf. Add nuts at the beep.


Make sure to to come back and share your resuts and feedback.






breadbakingbassplayer's picture

Hey All,

Just wanted to say hi to all of you and share with you my bake from last night.  It's a very large WW boule.  It's sort of the whatever flour I had left in my kitchen type bake...  It turned out to be about 62% WW, 38% AP, and approx 70% hydration.  Here are the pics.  It turned out to be about 1890g after baking...  Enjoy!



792g Organic WW (Whole Foods 365)

480g Organic AP (Whole Foods 365)

890g Water

26g Kosher Salt

4g Instant Yeast (1 tsp)



10:08pm - Mix all ingredients by hand in large metal mixing bowl, knead 10 minutes, transfer to lightly oiled plastic tub (at least 4 L in size), place in refrigerator.

11:00pm - Turn dough, cover, return to refridgerator.  Make sure your refrigerator is set to 40F.


9:30pm - Take dough out of refrigerator, turn dough, leave on counter.


12:00am - Shape dough into large boule, place in lightly floured linen lined basket, cover with kitchen towel, proof for 60-90 minutes.  Place baking stone and steam pan filled with lava rocks in oven, preheat to 500F with convection.

1:00am - Turn convection off.  Turn dough out onto lightly floured peel, slash as desired, place in oven directly on baking stone.  Place 2 cups of water into steam pan, close door.  Turn down to 460F, bake for 1 hr, rotating at 30 mins.  Turn oven down to 440F, bake for another 20 minutes.  Turn oven off and leave loaf in for another 10 minutes.  Total baking time will be 1hr, 30 minutes.  Loave is done when the internal temp has reached 210F, and the has lost 15% of it's prebake weight.  Cool completely before cutting and eating, 12-24hrs.



Shutzie27's picture

The following is my bread manifesto:

I do not ever ever bake bread for money, unless I am seriously and quite literally faced with homelessness. I'm far too selfish to turn this corner of reprieve in my life into a job.

I will never put myself in a position for anyone to turn baking bread into work or labor for me.

I will always make sure every loaf, roll or breadstick that comes from my hands is made with love and the excitement that comes from sharing something good and showing love in a tangible way. The ability to bake bread from scratch by hand is, after all, to some degree a gift and one that should be shared. (Granted, whether or not I have this gift is still debateable).

Someday I will make a baguette. I don't have a pan for it, and probably not the oven, either. I have been reading and re-reading the recipie and studying it like it was a final exam in the class of Life. I don't believe I am ready yet...perhaps when I've finished this semester of law school. But someday, I will make a baguette.  

After that, and only after that, I will attempt to make a challah bread.

I must also make another sourdough again, though I'm not entirely sure where that fits in and it might depend on how law school goes.

And finally, before I die, to celebrate a personal and deep victory of my own, I will make a croissant. Well, probably six or a dozen, because that's usually what the recipe calls for. I shall be exceedingly careful as to who I chose to share the croissants with, as well. The ones that turn out, anyway. It's not the kind of patience, care, precision, and effort one puts in for just anyone, after all.

Shutzie27's picture

There is something almost primal about home-baked bread.

For millennia, mostly women (but I'm sure some men too) across every single continent have engaged in a fairly painstaking process of patiently grinding wheat or corn into flour, finding and adding just the right amount of water, and kneading, kneading, kneading until, finally, on a flat rock in the sun or atop an enclosed fire somewhere the cornerstone of the human diet was finished. How could they have known how much water to add, or that one must knead and not beat or grind the dough? Perhaps bread was born within us and simply came out.

Maybe it emerged in the form of a baguette, or a tortilla, a loaf, a pita, a crust or a stick, but it was bread and it was being made every day by somebody somewhere.

Humans engaged in this long process, over and over again, for their children, their mates, their communities or themselves. To celebrate, to mourn, to barter or to heal. In honor of their religion and sometimes, even, bread was made to renounce religion. Bread was at once precious and yet universal. It was for the rich to enjoy, the poor to need and the destitute to yearn for.

Environment, time and later wealth would play their defining roles, of course.

In France the nobles feasted on croissants, a rich bread because it required eggs for browning and a scandalous amount of butter.

Meanwhile, in Tuscany, the bread had to last and was often stale. Not to be denied any pleasure, the Tuscans soaked the leftover slices of the long, narrow loaves in olive oil and topped with basil and tomatoes and re-warmed the bread over the fire. Today, you can pay up to $25.00 for a plate of that--only we call it bruschetta and the bread isn't usually stale (though it may have been deliberately left out overnight to harden for authenticity).

French toast, or as I grew up calling it, arme ritter (poor knight) was fed as a dessert dish to knights. It contained key ingredients wealthier noblemen were likely to have, such as milk and eggs. As such, it was considered a bit of a luxurious dish and by serving it the noblemen were paying the knights proper respect...that being said, it was also appealing because it was a dish that was still relatively cheap to provide. In fact, French toast is sometimes called "The Poor Knights of Windsor."

Rich, poor, warring or at peace....everyone ate or at least needed bread. Of all the foods in the world, it is bread that became synonymous with currency the world over (lettuce is a distinctly American term).

All of which is well and good, of course, and lends to a deep sense of comfort when baking bread, but doesn't have a whole lot to do with why I bake it.

No, I think it would be far more accurate to say that I love dough more than I love baking bread.

I love the dough.

I love the way yeast proofs in warm water, as though the water, at just the right temperature, was holding some eternal secret of life and by adding the yeast and waiting I discovered it. Dough is love, and love is the essence of life.

I love how it transforms from a sticky, gooey sludge into a smooth, warm and elastic dough with just a bit of patient coaxing from my fingers. That my small, weak and unskilled hands could produce such an strong but elastic substance amazes me just a little bit each and every time.

I especially associate yeast dough with love. Like love, yeast dough is pliable but strong, but also requires just the right amount of attention to become something life-sustaining. Given too much kneading or water or flour, it can be ruined in an instant and become stiff, dry or cracked. Sometimes, just sometimes, like particularly strong love, if the dough has become too watery and is getting away from the baker, it can be fixed by slowly and carefully adding flour.

Both yeast dough and love can be coaxed, cajoled, rolled, folded and rocked into shape, but never, ever forced.

You have to truly feel the dough to understand it, and if you are only going through the motions you may end up with bread that is edible, but not bread that is also joyous. Yeast dough, like love, will give back whatever you put into it, and if you don't pay attention you will end up with nothing but a useless, heavy mass and a lot of wasted time you can never get back.

Yeast dough is warm from the inside out and, without even touching it, yeast dough can grow and grow until it doubles or triples in volume and can seem unstoppable. Anyone who has ever secretely loved another can surely relate.

The warmth of yeast dough doesn't come from an oven or a grill, but emanates gently from within it. Cover the bowl, come back in an hour or even just twenty minutes and--magic!--twice as much dough as there was before.

And like love, even punching it down a bit and reshaping it won't stop the way it will grow from within.

Some breads, just like some loves, need a bit more attention even when they're in the oven.

A baguette, for example, has to be perfectly misted while baking.

A challah bread (and is there any bread that celebrates life, family, love and tradition more? And no, I'm not Jewish, but it really is one of the richest breads in so many ways) won't settle for being shaped but must be braided.

The quietly demanding sourdough requires no less than at least three days of your time for the starter and, even then, can be a bit fickle.

And the croissant is a downright diva, demanding days of preparation and folding process akin the welding and hammering that goes into a genuine Samurai sword (only slightly less than 100 layers). It is a deceptively innocent-looking bread that requires a remarkable amount of skill.

Yes, some breads require the attention of a lover, others are as demanding as children, still other are as low-maintenance and accepting as an old friend, and still other breads ultimately require the patience, work and understanding that love for family and in-laws are exceedingly likely to require.

But all of them, if done properly, are unquestionably worth every second.

Naturally, after taking a golden-brown or spice-speckled or rich dark bread out of the oven, I'll treat myself to just a bit of it.

I'll allow myself that first moment of basking in the rich, comforting warmth of the oven, still lazily lingering within the welcoming center of the loaf. And I'll revel in the barely-there hint of sugar or natural sweetness that is woven tightly amidst the magical sponge of flour and yeast.

When the mood strikes me, sometimes that gentle, warm center is hugged by a protective crust with just enough crunch to turn that very first bite into an experience of its own, a sharp but simple contrast of texture that elevates the flavor exponentially.

But after that, really, the bread becomes almost a thing of the past. Baked, the loaf is now something that I take pride in having made and while I genuinely look forward to sharing with others, something is gone. I am forced to confront the fact that the towel-wrapped testimony to my secret baking obsession is not why I ever began making it in the first place.

HuskerMychal's picture

I usually am a muffin and quick bread baker so this rising stuff is all new to me. I decided to try out The Honey WW that floydm has listed. My last nights try at my first Loaf of whole wheat. Tastes good but it is a aircraft carrier. You know, a flat top. LOL. I did not have any honey so I used molasass. That was the only change I did. The loaf is a bit dense inside but has a good taste. The only other time I have made anytype of rising dough was a pizza dough I made a couple weeks ago, that came out pretty good and tasted great after I grilled the pizza. I will try to post a couple pics of the loaf. I think I am going to try for one loaf of basic white to see if I can get a nice round top loaf with that and then work up.


wally's picture

Now that we've had a brief respite from oppressive heat here in the Washington, DC area I've turned my oven on again to take advantage of this fleeting opportunity.  It's been awhile since I've baked some ryes, so this seemed a good time to get my hands sticky again.

I decided on Hamelman's 80% Rye with a rye soaker; but my curiosity got me to wondering what that recipe might be like if I reduced the percentage of rye to 60%, but held the other ingredients constant.  So began an experiment in rye profiles.

Hamelman's 80% rye with soaker has a hydration of 78%, and the rye levain is 37% of the overall dough weight, while the soaker constitutes 22% of dough weight.  His soaker is equal parts rye and boiling water, so you immediately find yourself struggling to mix a thick, thick, paste.

In addition to the levain, he calls for 1.5% yeast.

I mixed both the levain and soaker about 10 hours before I did my final dough mix, because respite or not, my kitchen tends to stay around 76° - 78°F in the summer, so things happen sooner rather than later.

The next morning my rye sour was definitely ready - you could hear noises below the rye-floured surface as it worked.  The soaker had the wonderful aroma of a rye mash, which is one of the attractions of this bread - its wonderful sweetness.

The mix was for about 10 minutes total, all on speed one of my Hamilton Beach.  It resembled mud and was even stickier, as per usual.  The bulk fermentation is only 30 minutes, followed by air-shaping and a final proof of a little over 50 minutes.  (On my last pas de deux with this rye I went for a longer fermentation and was rewarded with a collapsed loaf that had an air pocket beween the crust and crumb that miners could crawl through.  Chastened I decided underproofed was a better bet.)

I air-shaped one loaf as a batârd and the other as a boule.  I heavily rice floured both my couche and banneton, and followed that with a heavy dusting of rye flour.  Despite my efforts, the boule found a minor sanctuary in a part of the banneton's cloth.  While I slashed the batârd I decided to go au naturel with the boule and bake it seam side up.

Both were baked with steam (such as my gas stove will retain) at 460° F for 15 minutes, after which I reduced the temperature to 425° F for another 30 minutes.

I left both loaves to cool and wrapped them in linen overnight. 

The boule showed its cracks from the dough's seams, along with it's bald spot from becoming too attached to the banneton.  Oh well.   I don't have a shot of the uncut batârd because I seem to have attacked it prematurely.  In any event, the crumb seems to me to have the profile typical of my bakes of 80% ryes. 

Definitely a cocktail bread and one I particularly enjoy with a good goat's cheese.

The next day, I decided to replicate the previous bake, but this time decreasing the percentage of rye to 60%.  The other departure was my decision to step down the hydration slightly, to 75% from 78%.  In all other repects the procedure was the same - both the levain and soaker were identical.  The only difference was in the final mix where the percentage of bread flour was higher, that of rye correspondingly lower, and the hydration stepped down just a bit.  The mix time was about 9 minutes, 5 on speed 1 and 4 on speed 2.  There was evidence of gluten formation at the end of the mix.

The bulk fermentation in this case was extended to 45 minutes.  Shaping took place on my counter, and while the dough coming out of my mixer felt as sticky as the previous day's dough, it was much easier to shape after its fermentation.  I again created one boule and one batârd  and let them do a final proof of 60 minutes.  Bake temperatures and times were the same.

Here's a shot of them out of the oven.

And one of the crumb.

Ok, so to the profiles, which not surprisingly, would seem to reflect the differences in the overall proportions of rye - 80% vs. 60%.

Here are a couple shots of the boules side-by-side, along with slices taken from the respective batârds.


Both, for my taste, are cocktail type rye breads.  I think even the 60% is a bit heavy as a sandwich bread except for a dyed in the wool rye bread aficionado.  And I find myself favoring the 60% in terms of tenderness of the crumb.  With both, however, the sweetness imparted by the soaker makes them truly flavorful breads.


yozzause's picture

the other evening i took home some of the sour dough culture that was excess to requirement and decided to use it in a fruit dough.

The sour doughculture itself was made from feeding the lees from a cider brew that i had recently made  and was now a very active culture, i measured up 600g of flour and used 200g of culture to this i added 300g water 6g salt 18g dry yeast 48g butter 90g raw sugar 10g molassess.

this ended up being a bit to wet so i had to add a further 100g flour.

With the fruit i ended up with currants raisins dates and a fruit and nut mix that ended up being just over 300g

bulk ferment was for 2 hours and after tinning up was left for another 2 hours. i nearly went to bed and forgot that it was to go in the oven, in fact even put 1 foot in the bed and then remembered!

The bread turned out really good, great taste, nice and moist and loved by all my tasters. i am looking to make a larger batch next week at work.

womanbread's picture

Hi - I'm a long-time lurker and even longer lover of baking and everything to do with baking. I live in Ireland (moved here from the US about 15 years ago) and love it here, but amazingly, what I've found is that there aren't many bakeries here, compared to how many there used to be.

I write the above as a preface to my asking for some advice from any Irish bakers out there, or any Irish bakery owner or worker in an Irish bakery.

I would dearly love to open my own bakery right here in this relativey small village I live in (County Sligo/County Mayo area), but because I am a home baker with a true and life-long passion for baking, I realise that going from baking batch loaves, soda bread, scones, muffins, pies, tarts, biscuits/cookies for family and friends and bake sales is a completely different thing altogether than running/owning/opening my own bakery.

I'm hopng that there might be someone reading this, who lives in Ireland, who might be able to help me or advise me as to the very basics or pros and cons of even considering such a venture. I've read on one of the many wonderful and extremely informative TFL forums a couple of months back about someone (I think her name is Christie) whose love of baking led her to ask for advice on the same thing as I am asking/considering here, but the difference is that I'm in Ireland, which is why I'm looking specifically for someone living in Ireland or an Irish bakery owner if they could offer even a few helpful and/or cautionary words of advice (and/or encouragement).

Thanks very much in advance. I just hope I wasn't rabbitting on too much or worse, offered too little or have too vague. I'm hopeful and excited and motivated, but I'm also a bit anxious and, if truth be told, worried that although it has been a long-time dream of mine to become a baker and one day own and run my own small bakery and/or bakery cafe, that it might be a dream that's likely to turn into a nightmare.






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