The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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louis's picture

I am fairly new to bread backing and i have been getting more and more consistent results. I have been baking sourdough from Jeffrey Hamelman book with great results. The only problem I have is when I retard the formed loafs in the refrigerator overnight they stick to the couche. when I bake without retarding I never have this problem. If anyone could help I would appreciate it.

Mebake's picture

Yesterday, I decided to venture into batards. I shaped one, and a loaf. Both were Sourdoughs with a 24 hr old liquid preferment. The final dough undergone its first proofing in a refreigerator for 24 hours (i was out). Yesterday, i deflated the cold proofed dough, and knead it until it became somewhat warm.

I left the dough to rise for 3-4 hours, and cut it into equal halves. I shaped one as a batard. and the other into a loaf.

However, this time i had bought an oven thermometer! When i preheated the oven, i was striked by the misconception i had about my oven temperature. It turned out that i often baked at lower temperature than recommended for Home-made artisan breads, i.e. 425 - 470F.

Therefore, i swung the dial into no.7 or 400F and waited. The breads cooked well, crackled when done, and had an eye pleasing golden finish to them.

THAT IS WHAT I WANTED and have missed all along in my previous loaves. THANK GOD.

The crust is the best i have ever achieved so far.

Next target... 70% Rye bread adventure.. be on the lookout. :P


Shiao-Ping's picture

My daughter will be away for her 17th birthday at the end of this month.  She and four other Year-12 students are representing Australia in an International Young Physicists Tournament in China and are leaving this Saturday.  My husband had asked if I wanted to go along and help with the language translation.  I said No because I think the kids can do with a bit of freedom (and excitement) in a foreign country.  And, sure enough, because the mummy doesn't want to go, the daddy had conveniently engineered a business trip to be up there at the same time - the daddy and the daughter are leaving together on the same flight.

The mummy is not unhappy with all that.  She made an Orange Infused Sponge Cake with Coconut & Orange Cream Icing for the daughter's 17th birthday in advance.  The cake was decorated with orange roses, the petals of which were lightly coated with egg white before icing sugar was dusted.  The birthday was celebrated two weeks ahead of time. 

Here is the birthday cake:



                Orange Infused Sponge Cake with Coconut & Orange Cream Icing





Yippee's picture

A big thank you to Susan for this simple and delicious formula.  My kids loved these loaves tremendously.  They had it for breakfast with a spread of butter; at dinner clam chowder in a bread bowl.  For me, it's another great lesson in sourdough.  A few new things I tried in this project: 

  1. Baking with high gluten flour (Giusto's organic high gluten whole wheat)

  2. Using a firm starter (refreshed at 1:2:3)

  3. Experimenting EXTENDED retardation at bulk fermentation (12 days) and at final proof (2 days).  There was no basis of practicing these extended retardations, I simply just did not have a chance tending the dough after I mixed it up. It gave me an opportunity to find out how well the method of preserving a premixed dough in the fridge for later use, as suggested in AB in 5, would work. As you will see, there's no negative impact on the final product and the flavor was greatly enhanced.

This project turned out wonderfully.  Susan, I'm looking forward to trying your bread again.

This will be submitted to Nick's imafoodblog.

SylviaH's picture

Almond-Scented Cinnamon Rolls- I know more cinnamon rolls..but these are a little different and a delicious Italian version!  My husband has been begging for cinnamon rolls and it has been a I thought I would make some with an bit of an Italian flare..this is my adaptation from a recipe on the  The dough is easy and comes together so fast in the food processor.  This is the first time I have made dough in a food processor..I have to say I was amazed.  I also liked the fact that they added the butter before the liquid ingredients because I think this does make a difference! You get a more tender crumb by discouraging the onset of the gluten formation.  I think this definately makes a difference even with little bit of butter that goes into this dough!  No eggs are in the recipe!  I used King Arthur All-Purpose flour.  I mixed the dough the night before and without shaping the rolls, placed the dough in a lightly buttered bowl.  Placed in the refrigerator overnight and the next morning let it warm up to room temperature and then rolled out the dough and formed the rolls.   I doubled the filling replacing half of the flour with Almond Meal and adding a little brown with the granulated sugar.  I used only buttermilk in this recipe.  When the rolls were glazed I kept the glaze thin...not a thick glaze like my cinnamon rolls usually have and just before baking I added a very light sprinkling of King Arthurs expresso powder on the proofed rolls.  When the rolls where finished baking I removed them right away from the pan...I would suggest parchment lined pans instead of just buttering the pans.  I glazed the rolls and made double the recipe and used it all...topping the glaze with slivered almonds.

These rolls definately had a very tender, delicious crumb and the overall almond flavor the light sprinkling of expresso powder was only noticable if you knew it was there... topped off with a cup of espresso was absolutely wonderful! 








Shiao-Ping's picture

I love pumpkin, but when my husband came home with three huge pumpkins, I worried.  What am going to do with all these pumpkins, I asked. I got no reply.   He had gone camping with our son and our son's friend at our farm, two hours north west of Brisbane.  The caretaker's wife keeps a small patch of vegetable garden and every now and then she gives me something from her vege garden.  My favorite are cherry tomatoes and silverbeets.   These pumpkins are from her garden too.     

It's school holiday and we were driving west, in-land, to somewhere.   I was bouncing off ideas with my daughter; I said how about Pumpkin Sourdough with Roasted Pumpkin Soup, or how about Grilled Pumpkin & Chinese deep-fried Onion Sourdough.  All of a sudden, my daughter said, how about Triple Pumpkin Sourdough with pumpkin seeds, pumpkin puree, and shredded raw pumpkin; she is catching on.  As we were talking, my husband is mumbling, give me a gun! and my son was unavailable for comment, totally absorbed in the video that he's watching in the back seat.      

My local organic shop which I visited the other day has got  "coconut flour" now, a very fine desiccated coconut.   I bought some without any clue how to use it because I love anything and everything to do with coconut ... hmmm ... Thai green curry with coconut cream ... yumm!   

The French bread books that Flo Makanai ordered for me had arrived last week, one of which is "Le Pain, l'envers du decor," or Bread, Behind the Scenes, by Frederic Lalos who is one of the youngest bakers to have been awarded Meilleur Ouvrier of France, at the age of 26.  (Sorry, my Google translator does not recognise "Meilleur Ouvrier.")  On page 168 is La couronne bordelaise (the Bordeaux Crown), one of the French regional breads that are featured in the book.    I find the shape really interesting, and finally a reason for my experiment on pumpkin! 

 Here we go.    



My formula  

246 g starter @75% hydration

202 g Sir Lancelot flour

60 g white flour

40 g coconut flour (or fine desiccated coconut)

77 g water

232 g cooked pumpkin puree

9 g salt

very fine zest from one medium orange

pumpkin seeds for decorating    

(final dough weight 866 g and approx. dough hydration 70 - 72%) 



    Pumpkin Sourdough with Coconut & Orange


                                                                                               The crust 


                                    The crumb    


The orange and coconut is a combination that I always love.  The fragrance is beautiful.   But I'll probably not do coconut "flour" next time; it seems to have a "punctuating" effect, like grains and seeds, on bread.  I am not sure if I am using that word right, but I suspect it is making gluten network harder to form, or something like that.  Instead, coconut milk (or diluted coconut cream) would be a better choice. 


Shiao-Ping's picture

1983, I was in my mid-20's in Boston doing my final year of post graduate studies under Rotary scholarship.  A memorable year as it was the first time ever in my life that I went overseas.  My host family, Bob, is from Armenia and Maria, Germany; both came to America in their late teens.  One day they drove me to New York to visit the Metropolitan Museum.  We had lunch at a posh side walk cafe; the waiter brought us curious black color bread rolls.  As Maria was eating, she couldn't stop raving about these dense looking bread rolls which had (I subsequently learnt) a faint caraways fragrance.  To this day I still remember how she was telling me that breads are supposed to be dense and flavorful, not like those fluffy, light stuff from supermarkets.   

As I've been baking a lot of sourdough breads lately, I think of Bob and Maria a lot.   It was sort of a fluke that I started reading about the story of Horst Bandel, a local minister who bought breads from Jeffrey Hamelman's bakery in Vermont years and years ago (page 221 of Hamelman's Bread: A Baker's Book of Technique and Recipes).  Horst Bandel's family owned a bakery for 150 years in Germany; he was going to take over the bakery but had to flee to America because of the 2nd World War.   He became a minister and had not baked since.... until he and Hamelman got together to bake this black pumpernickel of his youth.  

Horst's family used a wood-fired oven for all their baking; this Black Pumpernickel would go into the oven last of all when they finished baking the day's bread, and baked (in covered pan) overnight in the lingering heat of the oven.  "Next morning, we would pull it from the oven, dark, dense, and fragrant," as he described it to Hamelman.  

Well, I made this Black Pumpernickel in memory of Bob & Maria, and my Boston days.  



    Horst Bandel's Black Pumpernickel, baked as a normal sourdough bread     



                            Horst Bandel's  Black Pumpernickel, baked in covered casserole pan, in medium low heat as per Halmelman's instruction    


Formula was based on page 221 - 224 of Jeffrey Hamelman's Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes.   Total dough weight was 1.8 kg which I separated into two pieces and baked differently as the pictures above show.    





                                       The crumb



xaipete's picture

I baked two sourdough's today. The first, David's Pain de Campagne is rapidly becoming one of my favorite breads because it's so easy to make, is practically foolproof, and has such a wonderful flavor and crumb. I use Guisto's Baker's Choice instead of KA French style flour for this bread, and my own home-ground wholemeal rye. (I think Guisto's Bakers Choice has about 10.5% protein, so it is softer than KAAP.)

The second was kind of an experiment with Dan DiMuzio's SF Sourdough. I wanted to see if I could bake baquettes out of the dough instead of the more normal batards.

I mixed both doughs up by hand using a throw and slap method. (I had just finished watching a video by Richard Bertinet and thought I would give his technique a try.)

I put both doughs through four of the throw and slap sessions allowing about 20 minutes in between. It was kind of a fun procedure, and I really enjoyed getting down and dirty with the dough. I think this method help to incorporate air into the doughs and probably contributed to their open hole structure.

The hint of rye in this bread really gives it a spectacular flavor and crumb.

I couldn't get my scoring to open up very well on these baguettes. I'm not sure why except that the dough really got a lot of oven spring.

I cut the baguette horizontally for a sandwich. I was very happy with the large holes in the crumb.


I retarded half of Dan's formula overnight in a banneton and baked it this morning. It was a little overproofed which didn't surprise me considering the amount of starter. Still, it baked up pretty well this morning. A little bit flat, but the flavor is very nice and the crumb isn't bad either!


Nomadcruiser53's picture

Work has been brutally busy, so bread had to go on the back burner. I did manage to get out some sandwich bread and a couple no-knead SD. The sandwich bread is a little sweet since that's the way I like it and the SD has about 25% WW by weight. I did get a little flour rolled into the SD when I shaped it, but luckily it wasn't too much. The house smelled great today. Dave

gcook17's picture

 I was getting tired of covering my mixing bowl with plastic wrap to keep the dough from drying out while it fermented.  For me, unrolling, tearing, stretching plastic wrap has always been like wrestling an octopus.  Besides, I hate throwing it away after using it for a few hours.  I wanted to find a dough fermentation bin that had a top that would keep in the moisture but wasn't airtight.  I was buying half sheet pans at my local Smart-n-Final and noticed what looked like the perfect containers. They were plenty big enough for folding the dough in the container.  They had smooth bottoms that would allow the use of a plastic dough scraper and make cleaning easy.  They had tops with little vent thingies that could be opened or closed.  Most amazing of all they were cheap.  They came three in a package for about $20.  The only problem was that I had to get three of them which I didn't think I needed.  I decided to wait until I had scouted around to see if I could find something comparable that I could buy just one of.   Some bins had convoluted bottoms that would make it impossible to scrape out the dough.  They had fancy lids that sealed so well that no gas could escape and complicated seals that would make them hard to clean.  The better ones cost almost three times as much so I finally got the set of three.

Here are some pictures.  The familiar book is in the picture to give an idea of how big they are.  The brand is Reynolds.  The largest batch of dough I've used it for so far was 6 lbs. 

Here's a close-up of the vent.  The almost readable word on it is "Casuals."


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