The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


trailrunner's picture

I followed the detailed postings and the bread was a success. It is very easy to handle and the shaping /scoring are a cinch due to the texture after all that chilling. I loved the crust and crumb. It exploded with crumbs when we broke into the loaf....just as the New Orleans French bread used to do before they ruined the way they make it. I will definitely be making this again and again. I used the 1/2 tsp yeast and didn't get much rise in the  fridge over the 24 hr period. I was a little worried but it did great in the oven. Here are pics.

pasta making: Photobucket fresh tomato topping for pasta and baguette: Photobucket finished with some lovely aged parmesan and a chunk of bread...broken  not sliced :Photobucket

varda's picture

I continue to bake in my mud oven - in fact I haven't baked any bread at all in my "indoor" oven so far this summer.   It is a steep learning curve.   Since I last posted, I have added a thermometer and a door (essential) a peel (helpful) and have started to use parchment paper to keep things cleaner.   I continue to make my slow progress through Hamelman's Bread.   Today I tried Semolina with a levain.  (page 171)   I split it into three small loaves which are a bit more manageable.    Here they are. 

and the crumb

When I finished baking, I put tonight's dinner (chicken and vegetables) in a dutch oven into the oven and let it cook with the "leftover" heat for several hours.   And served with bread of course.

txfarmer's picture

This is another recipe from "A Blessing of Bread", while the last sourdough challah from that book (I blogged about it here) was very traditional and authentic, this one, is definitely not. 75% of the flour is whole wheat, no eggs, just some oil and minimal honey to tenderize, no egg wash on the surface (the recipe suggests a cornstarch wash instead, I used butter), and a very hot/long bake to get the dark crust. It's not as eye catching as traditional golden challahs, but the taste is wonderful. The dark and hard crust contrasts nicely with the soft crumb, and complex ww flavor is enhanced by sourdough and long fermentation - different from all the other challah breads I've made and tasted, but got major charm of its own.

The following formula makes a 900g loaf, which is scaled down from the book:


starter (60%), 22.5g

bread flour, 120g

water, 75g

1. Mix into a dough, cover and let rise for 8-12 hours.

-main dough

ww flour, 375g (I used King Arthur WW Flour)

water, 289g

salt, 9g

veg oil, 42g

honey, 15g

all of the preferment

2. Mix ww flour and water, autolyse for 20 minutes. Add other ingredients, mix well until glutens are well developed. About 12 minutes in my KA pro 6 mixer. See windowpane test below.

3. Bulk rise about 2 hours @73F.

4. Divide, round, relax, and braid. I tried two single braids in a 8inch squre cake pan.

5. Proof @ room temp until triple in size and do not push back. About 5.5 hours in my case.

6. Spray water on the surface, bake @430F for 45 to 1 hour, 50min was perfect for mine.

7. In the mean time, prepare cornstarch wash by mixing 1tsp cornstarch and 1/3cup water, boil until solution becomes clear. Brush onto loaf when it's hot from oven. Cool for 5 minutes, brush again. Note that I did NOT do this, I brushed the warm loaf with melted butter. The crust got a bit soft from it, but flavor was great.


Judging from the dark and hard crust, I thought the crumb would be like a hearth ww bread, nope, it's actually soft and spongy, contrasts nicely with the crust.


I love how WW breads taste, sourdough starter and long fermentation add yet another dimension to the flavor profile, definitely recommend it.

rosiePearl's picture

laurale's picture

Hello, all you bakers.  I stumbled upon this fabulous website while browsing KAF.  I was given an Artisan KA mixer as a gift and JUMPED  into the art of bread baking.   Baked ciabatta (a moderate failure, but taste was good), baguettes (witha correct pan-you know-the one with the holes), which we turned into brushetta), and parker house rolls.  I find that all you bakers have so much knowledge I'm not familiar with.  Can you recommend a book or website that speaks to me in primary school terms?

trailrunner's picture

I was preheating the 2 Dutch ovens I use for the San Joaquin  Sourdough. All was great and the oven was at 500. I took out the 2 pots and placed a loaf into each one and misted lightly with water. When I placed the covered  pans back into the oven the oven had a new code F06 and it cut off. Oh NO !! I quick turned on the upper oven to preheat to 460 and left the covered pots in the lower oven while I waited and swore and worried. I moved the pots to the top oven as soon as the temp was up . Then I long to wait??? When to remove the lids...more worry and swearing LOL. After 20 min. in the upper oven I decided to peek...OH wow...they looked wonderful. I left them in till they were good and brown and then checked internal temp...210. Done. Probably the prettiest I have made and they sang to me when they came out.


Moral of this story. If I hadn't been using the preheated pots I would not have had any success at all in averting a disastrous failure . The pots are the best. Here are fresh out of the oven loaves. Crumb to follow much later :)  I am waiting now for the Miele repair folks to come. Thank goodness for extended warranty. This is the 1st time I have needed service in the 4 years of use. 

Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket

siuflower's picture

What is bakery  pantent flour? What kind of bread uses patent flour?



lief's picture

I got an awesome fathers day gift from my daughter this year. She is going to New York University so she has been running around the Big Apple for a couple of years now. One of her favorite spots to pick up bakery items is Amy's Bread, which sells a book with some of their recipes, and that was my gift :-)

I have been slowly going through it, reading about their general take on the art of baking bread and perusing the recipes trying to decide what to bake first. I've been on a bit of a spelt kick lately, so I decided to start out with the Organic Whole Grain Spelt with Flax and Sesame recipe.



Notice the white streaks on the crust? I have been having a problem with this for a very long time, but it has only shown up intermittently. I have made all sorts of adjustments to my methods, ingredients, and physical baking apparatus to try and figure out the source of the whitening of the crust to no avail. This book may have the answer!!!! In fact, at the end of this very recipe the book states that white streaks can occur due to INSUFFICIENT STEAM. Hallelujah! Definitely makes sense because the results were never consistent... perhaps I'm depending on how quickly I manage to close the oven door after applying the steam or how long my steaming apparatus was preheated? I got very excited after reading this and when I baked this bread, I made a number of adjustments to my steaming method to try and increase the amount of steam that I got. I definitely got more steam than usual, but the bread still has white streaks. Looks like I need to make further improvements. I also bought a large foil roasting pan to try the covered "self steaming" method, but it wouldn't work for this bake, which included two large loaf pans. Has anyone else had this issue? If so, how did you solve it?

Whitening aside, the crumb was quite dense, moist, and had a nice whole grain taste. However, it was also quite sour... almost too much. This is undoubtedly due to the modifications that I made to the recipe. The original recipe called for commercial yeast along with a levain. I've been spurning commercial yeast lately, so I decided to leave it out. However, I left everything else the same. This necessarily meant that the time tables would be stretched out by quite a bit. Also, in the original recipe, the bread is baked on the same day that the final dough is assembled. I said nuts to that! I'm sure that the long retarded proof that I gave it was the main reason for the kick that it had. It is 100% whole grain after all! If I were to do it over again, I would probably bake it on the same day. I may even add commercial yeast. I guess the recipe was written that way for a reason ;-)

Neo-Homesteading's picture



I know there have been plenty of entries on the subject of English muffins here on TFL, but I actually just made them for the first time recently. Somehow or another the thought just hadn't crossed my mind but these were delicious! I almost feel guilty buying those 100 calorie whatcha ma-call-its for so long! This is one of the only things that I've made that came out looking so identical to a store bought product. Although they came out looking the same the flavor and texture was out of this world! 

External Linkn to blog post and recipe:


Candango's picture

Thank you, Sourdo Lady.  About ten days ago I finally decided to put off the procrastination and begin my own sourdough starter.  Having read many various instructions (Beranbaum, Hamelman, Williams Sonoma, et al), calling for the use of flour, water and time, and if the desired results are not produced, throw it out and start over, I decided to take Sourdo Lady's explanation and logic to heart and put them to the test.  Armed with a fresh bag of rye flour and a small can of pineapple juice, I started and five days later, I had a bubbling seed starter.  Now to put it to the test

I followed Beranbaum's instructions to convert the liquid starter to a stiff starter and then expanded it enough to make sufficient for two recipes: her Basic Sourdough Bread and her Sourdough Rye, both from The Bread Bible.   I had enough starter to double the recipe for the Basic Sourdough Bread, so I did.  I put the remaining starter (for the rye bread) in the fridge to retard another day and set out to make the Basic Bread.  According to the recipe, this is a rather wet dough (at 68%).  I followed all the instructions except for the mold for the shaping.  Instead of using a banneton or colander, I shaped it as two batards and set them on parchment, using rolled kitchen towels under the parchment to provide a support ala cloche.  So far, so good.  After three hours, the dough had risen , but perhaps not enough.  I sprayed them with water, slashed them and slid them into the oven with steam.  The result - ciabattas, or what looked like them.  The slashes I had made appeared not to have been deep enough or had closed up very quickly.  The dough spread out on the parchment.  It rose, but not very much.  The result - crunchy crust but a relatively heavy and dense crumb.  It had plenty of gas holes throughout but remained heavy, nonetheless.  After cooling, I cut one of the "loaves" into thirds and then sliced one of the thirds horizontally.  It was edible, but I wouldn't give it any prizes.  I am not sure what went wrong, so I will not send any photos or ask for advice until I can repeat the recipe in the future, this time without doubling it (in case that was part of the problem).  We will see.

The success story was today when I made the Sourdough Rye.  This is a 63% hydration recipe, 17% rye.  I worked the expanded starter into the final dough yesterday and gave it two hours at room temp, with the requisite Stretch and Folds (Business Letter Turns).  Then into the fridge to retard until this morning. I took it out this morning and gave it two hours to warm up and then worked it into a batard shape (again, no banneton available).  After a two hour proof, it had risen nicely so I sprayed it, slashed it and slid it into the oven.  Fifty-five minutes later it came out of the oven to cool.

Nice color, nice crust.  When it had cooled, I sliced it and took photos.  I am happy with the results, happy that I have seed starter working away in the fridge for the next atempt, and I am anxious to start playing again.



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