The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


ananda's picture


Late in September, and with one week's notice of the event from the Publicity People, I approached my Level 2 students and invited them to enter the Young Baker of the Year Competition.  

This was hosted by Warburton's, who are one of the "Big 3" baking companies who dominate bread sales in the UK.   Six students entered and prepared their own recipes, which they spent a couple of weeks perfecting.   Of these, two were chosen to compete in the Regional Final held at Warburton's Bakery on the outskirts of Newcastle upon Tyne on Friday 15th September.

There were 5 students in the Final: 2 from Middlesbrough College, 1 from South Tyneside, plus Katie and Faye from Newcastle College.

The recipes are posted below.   There are also some photos from the event.   The loaves were made the day before and taken along for selected staff and managers at the Warburton's Bakery to judge.

Katie made bread using a local stout to make a traditional barm.   She also included a linseed soaker.   Fantastic recipe; malty with hydration at 75%: very attractive and flavoursome!   Faye used nettles, gathered from her own garden.   The bread was made with a white levain, and lightly spiced with roasted cumin and coriander.   Thanks Karin [hanseata] for your post which was the original source of some inspiration!

Hey, Faye was the winner!   She won £250, and now has a place in the National Final.   The prize for that is £1000, plus a work placement at a Warburton's Bakery!   The Final is a live "bake-off" at the HQ in Bolton, near Manchester, on 10th November.   How exciting; I can hardly wait to get on that train myself!



Baker Competition

Stout and Flaxseed Bread.


Stout and Linseed Bread Recipe





Formula (g)

Recipe (g)

Strong White Flour
















Formula (g)

Recipe (g)

Golden Linseed















Final Dough

Formula (g)

Recipe (g)







White Flour



Brown Flour









Fresh Yeast














Bread Method


Firstly the... Over Night soaker-


Weigh out 300g of golden linseed into a bowl and add the 500g of cold tap water.

Leave over night in a cool place for approx. 7 hours.

Then the...Over Night Barm-Beer ferment-

Weigh into a large bowl 750g of strong white bread flour- preferably Canadian and rub in the 6 g of fresh yeast gently with your fingers. Then pour in 750 of dark Allendale stout. Just combine the mixture to a paste then cover bowl to make airtight. Leave this in a reasonably cool place over night. 6-7 hours.

 On the Day the...Final Dough-


Weigh out dry ingredient first, the white and brown flour into a large mixing bowl. Rub in the fresh yeast gently with fingers and pour the salt to one side of the bowl. Weigh out the overnight soaker and add this to the bowl then weigh out the barm and add this also. Weigh out and add the stout. Attach to a mixing machine then attach the dough hook. Place on number 1 or lowest speed for 10 to 15 minutes. Periodically scrape excess dough from the sides and bottom of the bowl. After 10 minutes of mixing take a piece of dough and check the elasticity-the window pane method. If the dough doesn't stretch out enough place back onto a slow mix.

When mixed, take the dough out of the mixing bowl. Lightly grease another large bowl with shortening/butter. Very gently knead the dough in the bowl, cover with a cloth and leave in a warm place for ten minutes. Take bread dough out of bowl and weigh into 1kg pieces, then shape each piece into ovals/ balls. Sprinkle a dusting of semolina and brown flour into large bread proving baskets and transfer each loaf smooth side up into each basket. Then place baskets into a prover for about an hour until the bread has doubled and is not over proved.

Transfer each loaf onto a peel finely dusted with semolina and slash each top with a lame as desired.

Pre-heat the baker's oven to 210°C. Place in the oven for up to 25 minutes and pump the oven with steam straight after the bread is on the oven sole. Open the dampers, and bake a further 5 minutes.   Cool on wires. [Photos Below]



Nettle Bread [Photos Above]


Makes a large loaf of 1000grams and a smaller loaf of 450grams.

Pre ferment -  Wheat Levain

Flour 284g

Water 170g

Total 454g


Final Dough

Flour - 568g

Salt - 16g

Yeast - 24g

Preferment - 454g

Water - 367g @ 20 degrees centigrade

Roasted cumin seeds - 3g

Coriander seeds - 4g

Dried nettle - 4g


Oven dry the nettles

Roast off the cumin

Crush the coriander seeds in a pestle and mortar

Boil 200g of water with a bunch of nettles and allow to cool

Place the flour, salt, preferment and yeast in a mixing bowl and the 200g of nettled water and 167g of cool water combined with a temperature of 20 degrees.

Place the mixing bowl on the machine and mix on speed 1 for 3 minutes

Then mix on speed 3 for 6 minutes until fully mixed

Mould the dough and rest for 5 minutes

Divide the dough into one small 450g loaf and a 950g loaf and shape

Place into baskets and place in the prover

Prove for 45 minutes to an hour at 35 degrees

Bake @ 220 degrees in a deck oven with the top to be set at 6 and bottom at 5 for 25 minutes.

Remove from oven place on wires and allow to cool.

To be fully enjoyed serve with cheese or soup.





I made the following breads at home over the half term holiday:

Pain Siègle


Formula [% of flour]

Recipe [grams]

1. Rye Sour



Dark Rye Flour












2. Final Dough



Rye Sour [from above]



Strong White Flour












Pre-fermented Flour: 10%.   Overall Hydration: 68%


  • Build/elaborate the leaven and ferment overnight for 18 hours prior to use
  • Combine all the final dough ingredients, except the salt, and "autolyse" for one hour.
  • Add the salt and mix the dough for 15 minutes to fully develop.
  • Bulk ferment for 3 hours with 2 S&F...hourly intervals
  • Scale and divide into 2 equal sized pieces.
  • Mould round and place upside down in prepared bannetons.
  • Final proof is 1½ to 2 hours. Cut the top of the loaf just prior to baking.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 250°C. Bake with steam for 20 minutes. Drop the heat to 210 °C and bake a further 35 minutes.
  • Cool on wires
  • DSCF1419DSCF1426


White Levain with a Seed Soaker 

This was a cold soaker, using sesame and blue poppy seeds with no salt addition.   These were soaked for six hours prior to dough mixing.   I utilised an overnight retard for this bread.


Formula [% of flour]

Recipe [grams]

1. Levain



Strong White Flour












2. Soaker



Sesame Seeds



Blue Poppy Seeds












3. Final Dough



Levain [from above]



Soaker [from above]



Strong White Flour












Overall Hydration



Pre-fermented Flour




  • Elaborate the levain and make the soaker 6 hours in advance
  • Mix all the ingredients to form the final dough, and fully develop this for 15 minutes.
  • Bulk prove ambient for 2 hours.
  • Retard overnight at 3°C in the fridge, covered.
  • Scale and divide in 2. Mould round, top with a mix of the seeds and prove in bannetons.
  • Bake profile is as Pain Siègle. Cool on wires.
  • DSCF1436DSCF1441


Best wishes to you all


probably34's picture

How do I upload pictures? It always says upload failed

txfarmer's picture

I am part of the wildly popular monthly "Daring Bakers" challenge. Joined this past April, since then, we've done some very interesting pastry recipes(I post my "official" DB post at my Chinese blog site). This month I did my first "yeast-y" challenge with them, so I want to shared it with TFL. The theme of Oct is doughnuts, so I picked the yeast doughnut recipe by Alton Brown (his recipe always works), and added my own Autumn twist by adding pumpkin puree and spices, as well as maple glaze and maple creme filling. Oh, also added a bit of my sourdough starter just for the extra flavor.

Pumpkin Sourdough doughnuts (adapted from AB's recipe)

Makes 12 to 13 doughnuts

AP flour, 280g

milk, 146g'

starter (55%), 71g

salt, 6g

instant yeast, 7g

egg, 1

butter, 35g

sugar, 25g

pumpkin puree, 82g


clove, 1/8tsp

ginger, 1/2tsp

nutmeg, 1/4tsp


1. Mix everything but salt and yeast, autolyse 30min, add salt and yeast, mix/knead until the dough is smooth and strong. It's a very very very wet sticky dough, try not to add flour. I mixed until it pass the window pane test. Very strong gluten structure. However you'll still get soft doughnuts if you knead less, crumb would just be slightly less open.

2. Cover and rise for one hour (~73F), there's a lot of yeast in the dough, it rises fast. The dough needs the extra yeast to expand properly in the short fry process. 

3. Punch down, cover and put in fridge so that we can fry them next morning and have fresh doughnuts for breakfast!

4. Next morning, pat out dough into 0.8inch thickness and cut out any shapes you like. At this time, you can fill them with maple cream (put in between two rounds and seal), or you can fill them after frying.

5. Let rise for 30 to 40 min until puffy, fry in 375F oil for 30 to 60 seconds until golden.

6. Fill with maple cream if you wish, then roll in cinnamon sugar or maple glaze.

The incredibly open, soft, rich crumb is brioche-like, due to the enriched dough, as welll as a lot of kneading.

Maple glaze and cream went perfectly with pumpkin spice, classic.

Maple cream:

cream cheese, 113g

butter, 28g

powdered sugar, 50g

maple syrup, 1tbsp

- Beat until smooth


Maple Glaze:

powdered sugar, 100g

maple syrup, 80g

vanilla: 1tsp

- Beat until smooth



I particularly liked these doughnut holes, went down a little too easy. :P

--------------The Asian Twist -----------------

Since I had all that oil left, I decided to make 油条 - a popular traditional Chinese deep fried pastry. I grew up having it for breakfast, they are sold during morning rush hour by street vendors, wrapped in cheap plastic bags. Similar to doughnuts, they are deep fried, delicious, cheap, popular, and utterly void of nutritional value. :P  Yet, this is one of the comfort foods that I dream of often.

There are various ways to make 油条, in a home setting, we don't need those extra stuff to make it extra fluffy (less dough, more volume, hence more profit), so it can be made easily with a process similar to doughnuts, the difference is that the dough is plain without any fat or sugar.


AP flour, 258g

milk, 180g+15g

starter (55%), 65g

salt, 5g

instant yeast, 6g

baking soda, 1/4tsp

1. Mix flour, starter, 180g of milk, autolyse 30min. Add salt and yeast, mix until smooth and pass windowpane.

2. Let rise until double, about one hour. Mix baking soda with 15g ofmilk, knead into the dough. Cover and fridge.

3. Next morning, roll out dough into rectangle, let rise for 40min

4. cut into 1.5inch wide stripes

Lay one stripe on top of another, use chopstick to press an indentation in the middle

Stretch them longer (no longer than the size of your pot though)

5. 375F hot oil, deep fry until golden, flip as necessary.

They are the most delicious fresh. There are many way of eating them. My family used to dip them in "salted fermentated tofu"(sounds strange? very yummy!). A popular way is to eat them with (or soaked in) warm sweet soy milk. In fact they are good with most dipping and sauces.

A popular street food combo is to wrap it with an egg crepe, finished with sweet sauce. Yum, just like my memory from Shanghai.

The leftover can even be cooked into dishes. I stirfried some with Chinese squash and meatballs.


I am very happy about this challenge. This is my first time to deep fry anything, I got to eat fresh doughnuts, AND relive some of my favorite food memories from Shanghai.


songwritergirl's picture

This was my first legit attempt at homemade bread, a whole wheat oatmeal bread. The recipe is from Kim Boyce's "Good To The Grain" cookbook, and is made in one day, using active dry yeast, regular whole wheat flour, oatmeal and unbleached bread flour, and a very short 30-minute autolyse before kneading and proofing. It's a great beginner's recipe.

A short list of ingredients I used:

King Arthur Flours

Red Star Active Dry Yeast

turosdolci's picture

New England, the house filled with the aroma of apples, cinnamon and cake baking in the oven. This is a trip I look forward to every year.  This apple pie cake is fast and easy to make.


moldyclint's picture

Made a couple of loaves today that went over well with the Taiwanese in-laws, and that I am pretty happy with.  My usual whole wheat sourdough base, with ~30% added high gluten white flour, and about 1 1/2 cups of rye kernels (soaked overnight, then brought to a boil and then left to soak another few hours) and about 1 cup of flax seeds (soaked overnight), and ~1+% salt.  Probably about 9 cups flour total, plus the extra seeds, making a couple of large loaves.  My sourdough, which I have been keeping in the fridge 100% of the time since coming to Taiwan, hasn't yet developed much of a sour flavour (which is fine with everyone but me), but is working well to leaven my doughs. 

This time, I started with ~3 cups of starter, adding 3 cups of flour the night before and putting in the fridge.  After letting that warm up in the morning, I added the final 3 cups of flour, along with the rye and flax.  Bulk ferment for another 2 1/2 hours, split, stretch, fold, shape, and proof for about another 2 hours.  As you can see, precise measurements and replicability are not too high yet on my priority list.  Will likely try this one again and actually keep track of masses...


songwritergirl's picture

I'm new to the Fresh Loaf website, and a new student of home bread-baking. I want to chronicle my journey on this blog, and I'm definitely after that ultimate taste and texture in creating bread.  

These whole wheat ciabattas aren't my first attempts at baking bread, but they are my favorite flavors and textures so far. They're made with white whole wheat flour, (hard white wheat), using the recipe formula for Whole Wheat Focaccia from "Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads:New techniques, Extraordinary Flavor."

The flavor and crust are excellent, although I was hoping for a little more open and airy crumb. I think next time I'll try using regular whole wheat, (hard red spring wheat), a better thermometer, and either a shorter or longer delayed fermentation in the fridge, depending on how the dough seems to be developing. Once I learn to create my own natural leaven, I may try that with this recipe too.

Here's short list of ingredients and tools that I use:

King Arthur Flours

baking stone

parchment paper

pizza peel

oven thermometer

I'm really enjoying this learning process, and eating the bread I bake is such an immediate and gratifying creative experience. I love the community that sharing food can create, and one of the things I love doing most is sharing an evening with great friends, food and conversation.

And great bread.


ronnie g's picture
ronnie g

Or was it 2 cups of starter, 1 cup filtered water and 1 cup of unbleached white bread flour?  I can't even remember.  That's why I've decided to make use of this blog; keep a track of everything I'm doing.  I left it to ferment overnight and in the morning it was frothy and spongy, but it didn't seem to have grown at all.  Is it supposed to?

Oh well, nothing like wandering around in the dark for some excitement!  I decided to go ahead and make bread with it.  I added the whole lot of sponge (about 3 1/4 cups) to my mixing bowl and added also two cups of white bread flour and two cups of wholemeal flour.  The dough was tacky but not sticky.  I kneaded it, rested, kneaded, rested a few times until it was nice and smooth and stretchy.  I put it in a nice cosy steam bath to rise (maybe too cosy?) which it did to easily double in three hours.

I tipped it out, divided it into two pieces, had absolutely no idea how to shape into boules, so just kneaded lightly into balls and placed onto a tray.  I put these back into the steam bath thinking that seeing as it had done so well the first time, it would be okay the second time.  I checked it in only thirty minutes, and it had taken off.  The tops had cracked wide open and they looked pretty ugly!  

(Oh here's another blunder I made and forgot to mention earlier.  I didn't add the salt in to the initial dough mix, but added it while I was kneading.  That probably didn't help did it?)

I looked closely.  It seemed wet (maybe from the steam bath?), not very stretchy and a bit flacid looking.  I decided I couldn't wreck it any more if I tried, so I kneaded it again and added some more flour until the stretch and vigour were back.  I mean.... what more could I do wrong?  Anyone reading this is probably laughing their heads off right now.

I didn't return the dough to the steam as it seemed warm enough, but I let it rise on it's own.  I forgot to time exactly how long that was as a friend and I were in my studio painting.  Woops!  Anyway, I thought it rose to about double, pre-heated the oven and chucked it in.  I put a cake tin with some ice cubes in the bottom of the oven and spritzed every ten minutes until it looked cooked; about 35 minutes.  There was no extra rise in the oven, the crumb consistency I describe as dense to heavy-cakey.  The taste is nice.  The crust is crunchy and shiny.  Some pluses, many minuses.


teketeke's picture

Today, I made several bread using TFLers fomula. All of them are delicious.

First, I made mutigrain (100% whole wheat flour used) using Franko's formula.  I decreased the water amount down to 9% compare to the original one.  I have make his original one at the first time  that was a failure that the crumb was really tight.  The flavor was great but the texture was dry. I was kneading too much...    Anyway I will challenge the original one when I get spelt flour because it is a great recipe!

I used a  half of oats and a half of wild rice for the soaker this time. I also added 5% sugar ( 10g molasses and 15g honey)  While I was baking this bread, I smelled nice aroma all over my kitchen. It was a quite  gift for me.    But I have a question.  What do you think about this crumb?  I am a very new to use 100% whole wheat or other grain flour.  

On second,  I made David's San Joaquin Sourdough, and  I made it shape into dragon tails that David posted how to make.    I understand why many TFLERS make this baguette. It is really good! 

It was difficult to get rid of excess flour on the surface so that I couldn't attach the tails onto the dough nicely. Should I brush off the flour using a brush?  

On third, Wally's rye bread. I posted my result on his blog already. I should not slice it until the day after tomorrow although I had a little concern about this bread...  In fact, I left this dough outside for 4 hours before baking ( the temperature was 70F or so) because I had to go out.( I didn't mention this story on his blog.)  Fortunately, the dough was not active enough from beginning. I shaped the dough in one hour although the dough was not risen enough.  I don't know why I did that though,  it was good in the end because the dough was still keeping the height when I came home. It may be overproofed... But The taste was awesome.    I was so happy to see the crumb and the taste so I wrapped this with linen and covered it with plastic bag until I eat it.

In the end, I made Floyd's Lasy broiche. I also posted it to his blog too.

My brioche must be dryer than his because the little kids was having so much fun to knead and shape too much so that the crumb was little dry.  I don't care about this at all. I just enjoyed to make this nice and easy brioche with the kids.


Thank you everybody!!




hmcinorganic's picture

I made my old standby yesterday and today, 123 sourdough.  The dough was very wet;  I must have either a >100% starter or I mismeasured.  I used only white flour, and I know that that sometimes leads to wetter doughs, but I've made 100% white before and it wasn't a problem.  It was extraordinarily hard to shape and work with.  I made a double batch;  4 loaves.  two rose in small bowls in the fridge overnight and two rose in loaf pans.  Not a lot of oven spring on the "boules" but the loaf pans gave more support and they turned out better.  Of course, they taste phenomenal.  I am very pleased with my sourdough.

No pix this time.  But wanted to post my loaf.  I will be giving one loaf away, and one is in the freezer for later.  (and of course, one is half gone already).

I am brining bread to a party on Friday so I need to start another batch.  


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