The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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holds99's picture

I was thinking about one of the main objectives of TFL (encourage, support and assist new bakers) and with that in mind I decided to attempt a "tried and true" recipe that would perhaps be appealing to bakers just getting into artisan baking. I set out to make a bread that would be easy and as fail-safe as possible for entry-level bakers to produce. I chose the Rustic Country Bread recipe from King Arthur flour. The recipe is available on line at their website. I thought it would be a good recipe to introduce bakers who haven’t used or had experience with using a pre-ferment method (poolish) when making an “artisan” bread and because of its simplicity it’s a good one for new bakers to try. I used a Dutch oven for baking the bread, which pretty much eliminates the problems of moving the fermented loaf onto a stone and running the risk of having it sink or losing it completely. Anyway, here are the steps I followed. I made the dough per K.A. recipe using stretch and fold technique. Instead of dividing the dough into 2 boules, I kept it in 1 piece and made a large boule. After shaping the boule I placed it in large skillet, lined with parchment paper (make your parchment paper long enough so you will be able to have enough overhang on each side to enable you to pick up the boule and lift it up out of the skillet and place it into the Dutch oven without dropping it). I placed the skillet containing the boule in a plastic bag (you can alternatively cover it with film, stainless steel pot...whatever), closed the bag to let it rise until nearly doubled. An hour before baking I put the Dutch oven (empty) with the lid on into the oven and preheated the oven to 500 deg. F. After the boule had doubled in volume my wife helped me lift it out of the skillet (holding the ends of the parchment paper) and place it into the preheated Dutch oven. I scored/slashed the top of the boule with 3 long slashes, put the lid on the Dutch oven, placed it in the oven (be extremely careful here, you’re dealing with a 500 deg. cast iron pot) and closed the oven door.  I immediately turned the oven temp. down to 450 deg. F and let it bake for 30 minutes, then took the top off the Dutch oven for the final 10-15 minutes of baking. Don't forget to remove the lid, so your loaf will brown nicely.  Because this is a double size boule, you’ll have to bake this one about 10 minutes longer than the smaller boule. Using a thermometer inserted into the boule check for an internal temp. of 210 deg. F. If the top is getting too brown and it still hasn’t reach 210 deg. F. internal temp. put the lid back on and let it go for a while longer. Remove boule from Dutch oven, picking up the parchment paper edges, and place it on a wire rack to cool for a couple of hours.  DO NOT cut until completly cool.  So, here are the results.

 Rustic Country Boule baked in Dutch Oven

Rustic Country Bread - No 1: Rustic Country Boule baked in Dutch Oven

 Rustic Country Bread baked in Dutch oven.

Rustic Country Bread - No 2: Rustic Country Bread baked in Dutch oven.

 Rustic Country Bread - Interior/Crumb.

Rustic Country Bread - No 3: Rustic Country Bread - Baked in Dutch oven - Interior/Crumb.

YEASTHEAD's picture

I tried this recipe, after many failed attempts with other recipes, and produced bagels that had the great chewey texture one looks for, but which flattened out after the boiling process. Can anyone give me helpful advice on preventing this problem?

dstroy's picture

This year, the boy requested a Shaolin Monk on his birthday cake (he's obsessed with all things Chinese).

And a robot saying "beep".


Shaolin Monk vs Robot cake


chatzkorner's picture

 Phantom Hourglass cake Phantom Hourglass cake    My son is a fan of Nintendo games...he just had his 11th birthday and here are some of the pictures of his cake... Phantom Hourglass cake

Susan's picture

One-DayOne-day, 100g starter

Sponge-basedSponge-based, 50g starter

There were a couple of differences:
The One-day dough subbed 40g WWW, and added 1/8-cup sesame seeds
The Sponge-based dough added 1T oil.

Amazing difference, huh?

thebreadgastronomer's picture

amazing little bread shop in orangeville ontario canada, its a must for all people who love and respect bread

Floydm's picture

Tonight's sourdough loaves.


Quite good, though not as sour I as like. It was sunny today, so I had it rise quicker than usual on the table in the sunlight. I honestly think it made a difference in the flavor. I need to take advantage of the cool nights while the remain to do a few more loaves with long, slow overnight fermentation.

Floydm's picture

I was walking across the Portland State University campus last week and I noticed this:

brick oven

During the summer, the farmers market happens here. I gather someone must bake during the market. Neat.

ohc5e's picture

On Thursday of last week, I made pizza dough using my 100% hydration sourdough starter. I let it ferment at room temperature for a few hours before putting it in the fridge for 3 days to ferment.  After the long wait, I am happy to say the pizza turned out great.  I found a great site on the web for pizza dough run by a serious home pizza-maker.  Its got a lot of great information about Neapolitan style pizza, not all of which I followed. (i.e. I ignored the advice to cut off the door lock of my oven so that I could use the self-clean function to bake my pizzas at 700 degrees--I guess I just don't have enough commitment to the home-pizza making cause!).  I heated my pizza stone for an hour at 550 and used my broiler on high to cook the pizzas, which were cooked in roughly three and half minutes.  The crust was chewy and soft in the middle with a crispy, lightly charred outer crust.  The sauce was made from imported San Marzano tomatoes that I pureed with an immersion blender, two gloves of smashed, raw garlic, and a handful of torn fresh basil.  I used mozzarella that I bought today at a great Italian specialty store in Brooklyn (Caputo Fine Foods) that makes the mozzarella fresh every morning and salts it in a brine right in front of you--amazing.  I'm sure the pizza would have been almost the same using some good, fresh mozzarella from the grocery store but this was especially good .  I added a couple of tablespoons of fresh grated parmigiano cheese and when the pies came out, a healthy dose of olive oil.  I'm stuffed and can definitely say the pizza was worth the wait.  The link to Jeff Varasano's pizza site is  He gives very detailed instructions on kneading, etc that makes for an interesting read...

The dough was really wet compared to most pizza doughs I've made before which resulted in a failed first effort at stretching the dough.  But I did much better on my next try and by the third and fourth, I had the process down.  I just had to turn the dough much faster than I'm used to. I used a mixture of KA bread flour and imported Molino Caputo Tipo 00 pizza flour from Italy.  I used roughly three-quarters "00" and one-quarter KA bread flour, if I remember correctly.  The finely milled flour has a gluten percentage of about 11.5%.  I'm interested to try it in a ciabatta recipe.  You can buy it from  Shipping was pretty reasonable considering.  I bought 5, 2.2lb bags for about $30, including shipping.  

Hot PizzaShot of the CrumbShot of the Crumb

Underside of the PizzaUnderside of the Pizza 

caryn's picture

Since I have shared some successes on this site, I thought I would share a not so good outcome.  Today I was baking sourdough loaves for out-of-town visitors to take back to their home in Madison Wisconsin tomorrow.  I decided to make them two loaves of BBA sourdough with pecans and some whole wheat and rye flours.  So I scaled up my recipe to make 3 loaves, so I could taste the result before I gave the loaves to them.  I baked the first two, since I don't have room to bake three at once, thinking that if the third one was a bit over-risen because of the extra wait for the oven, I would not care, since my husband and I would keep that one.

Well, what happened is I was taking that first batch of two out of the oven  and....the first loaf went flying off of the rack onto the floor!!!!!  Naturally it was the better looking of the two!  (I am usually pleased with the flavor of the breads that I make, but the shaping could use some improvement.)

Thank goodness the loaf that I baked by itself came out without mishap.  So I will send our friends off with the loaves that made it out of the oven properly, and my husband and I will abide by the "5 second rule."  I am sure it will be fine for us to eat, but not to give away.  It looked only a bit worse for wear, having some cracks in the crust from the mishap!

BBA Sourdough With Pecans- 5 Second Rule!BBA Sourdough With Pecans- 5 Second Rule!

The other loaves that I am giving awayThe other loaves that I am giving away


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