The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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.


hanseata's picture

Sauna-like temperatures helped me hatch a scientific explanation for the mysterious connection between liquors and teen sneakers.


bakinbuff's picture

It has been quite awhile since I've baked much of anything, particularly sourdough, as since getting pregnant in March I've found the smell of the sourdough and the thought of making it completely nauseating (which is bizarre seeing as I was totally addicted to it before getting pregnant, and baking everyday.  Or maybe that is why....)  Anyway, this pregnancy has seen the nausea last an unreasonably long time, so only in the last few weeks have I felt inclined to get back to baking.  When I was baking regularly earlier in the year, I deliberated over the available options for a dutch oven, and really wanted to get one, but did the usual thing of researching myself to exhaustion then forgetting about it for awhile, and so I never got around to buying one.  I live on another continent than my mother, so when she comes to visit we make a point of getting out together without the children at some point for some rummaging through charity shops and vintage/antique stores (something I don't get to do much on my own without someone around to leave the children with and someone to go shopping with!).  We were on our morning out and I mentioned that I'd really like to buy a dutch oven, but hadn't thought about it for awhile, but if we happened to see one I would definitely want to get it.  Imagine our delight to spot a bright orange, rectangular enameled cast iron lidded dish in the window of a really great vintage shop along our wander!  For a moment I thought that the handle might be plastic, but it turned out to be metal, so we snapped up the bargain, at a paltry £10.  After bringing it home and giving it a little wash, I looked carefully at the faded name inside the lid and could just make out "Le Creuset" and "France" and the number 35.  Le Creuset!  I was pleased enough to have a genuine Le Creuset cast iron pot, but even more incredible was that it turned out, with some research to be from the original line of Coquelle pots designed by Raymond Loewy, and I found a black pot of exactly the same model listed on a website for several hundred dollars! 

So, all in all, a fantastic find!  But to the really important bit, how my first loaf came out!  Can't take a crumb picture (sorry!) because the loaf is for my father-in-law, but you can see it has lovely crusty ears and (you can't see) a lovely crackle all around after cooling down.  I am totally thrilled with my new piece of bread baking equipment!

hansjoakim's picture

Summer is most definitely my favourite time of the year. And finally it's here! Few things are better than wandering about outdoors in the early hours of morning, letting the sun shine down on you and inhaling the refreshing scents of wet grass, blooming flowers and the fresh, salty air blowing in from the sea.

Summer also means an abundance of ripe berries and fruit. Yesterday I spotted some lush, perfectly ripe strawberries that a farmer was selling. When you get them just right; blood red, plump, juicy and wildly fragrant, few things outmatch strawberries. Strawberries pair perfectly with pistachios, so this morning I prepared some pistachio frangipane tarts and dressed them up with some succulent berries after baking. Below is a photo of blind baked pâte sucrée shells and pistachio frangipane in the red bowl. For the pistachio frangipane, I mixed 2 parts pistachio cream (just replace almond meal with pistachio meal in your almond cream recipe) with 1 part Grand Marnier flavoured pastry cream.

Pistachio frangipane tarts


The tarts were filled 2/3 the way up with pistachio frangipane and baked at 190C for 15 - 20 mins, until baked through. They were then cut into smaller portions and brought along to the office together with some freshly baked tebirkes. A terrific summer treat :)

Pistachio frangipane tarts and tebirkes


jombay's picture

Been working on my own sourdough formula named after where I live and from where the culture was grown. It's not finished so I won't be releasing the formula just yet.

Turned out very well this time although I think I need to increase the hydration a tiny bit as I want a more holey crumb. Maybe make the levain a bit more stiff for increased sourness too.

On another note, I'm moving to Toronto in 5 or so weeks for my 2 year Baking and Pastry course. My new apartment only has a small gas oven. I hear those don't work too well for bread baking. Oh well I guess the huge steam injection ovens at school will have to suffice haha.

SylviaH's picture

My first attempt at these loaves from Daniel T. DiMuzio's book 'bread baking An Artisan's Perspective'.  An excellent book and one of my favorites.  I used the formula for Baguettes with Liquid Levain.  I made one small baguette for dinner before bulk fermenting the rest of the dough for 24hrs.  My husband had crunched it in half and was eating it before I had finished putting dinner on the table and said yumm this is delicious.  I made 2 french breads also 'called parisiennes in the book when scaled into 500g (18oz).  The french 2 loaves weighed 16.3 oz. each after being baked.  The flavor is delicious, sweet, buttery and no sourness with a creamy mouth feel and nice chew to the crust.







             After searching I found the photo taken of the crunched baguette.  So I added it for reference.  In MHO it is very similar to the Baguette Monge I did with the same 69% hydration level.  There is no added organic white wheat in this baguette.  I will add it next bake because the taste is so delicious and closely resembles in appearance and flavor that of the E.K.B.M. I baked.








txfarmer's picture

I made Poliane Miche from BBA last year, tried Hamelman's version this weekend. A lot more water, still used Golden Buffalo flour, came out of the oven yesterday morning.

Crumb is more open than BBA version, which is reasonable since it has a lot more water, but not as open as the picture in the book or on some of the posts here on TFL. Might be my handling, maybe my flour is thirsty, or maybe the final proof is a tad too long (the book suggested 2 to 2.5 hours, I did 2 in my 73F house)

But, oh my goodness, I love the flavor. Came out of the oven yesterday, cut and tried a few slices this morning. Comparing to BBA version, this one is less "meaty", more "delicate" (if one can call a 3lb+ dark loaf of bread "delicate"). Only slightly sour, with a very complex flavor profile, I am looking forward to see how the taste would change in the next few days. Now I want to try the miche formula with mixed flour in the same book.

Oh yeah, "H" stands for "Hamelman" of couse, I want to try  a variety of miche recipes, then modify them to come up with my own "txfarmer house miche" formula.


Made another batch of Gosselin baguette with cold retarding (as I blogged here), I like the retardation methods, which makes it easy to have it ready for Friday dinner. It was perfect with some soup. Used KA AP flour this time, 76% hydration, and reduced yeast amount to 1/2 tsp (adjusted fermentation time accordingly).

Used the "New" shaping/preshaping techniques I learned from SFBI, very nice. Scoring is still insanely difficult with this 76% hydration dough. We like this bread so much, I am sure I will get enough practice, hopefully I will get big ears on them one day!

dmsnyder's picture

We're back from Portland after a relaxing week in the city and at the beach. 

It's really hard to decide where to have breakfast - at Stumptown Downtown for the best espresso (and good bagels or decent pastries) or the Pearl Bakery for the best bread and pastries (and decent espresso). We opted for the Pearl Bakery.

Gibassier and Cappuccino at Pearl Bakery

We then visited the Clear Creek Distillery and had a guided tour by the proprietor, Steve McCarthy, with whom I had gone to college. We tasted the most extraordinary pear liqueur and pear brandy and cassis liqueur and grappa and ... I can't remember what else, for some reason.

The pot stills are imported from Germany and are the same as have been used for hundreds of years to distill eau de vie, except for the modern electronics, of course.

Barrel aging room with Steve, my wife (on the left) and DIL (in the middle). Steve's the one with the beard.

We had lunch after this at the St. Honoré bakery-café. Yummy bread and a smoked duck breast salade. Bakery in action for entertainment.

Scoring boules at the St. Honoré Bakery

My grandson had just finished a week at "Rock and Roll University." We attended the final concert.

Theo's the vocalist.

Then, off to Neskowin for 4th of July fireworks (viewed from our terrace).

We did some wonderful day hikes.

Cascade Head

I got in a bit of baking. An unfamiliar oven is always a challenge. This Italian Bread was baked using Susan's Magic Bowl technique.

We had a wonderful time. It was hard to leave. It always is.

Mt. Hood from PDX

Now to try to catch up with the NYBaker recipe tests.


jstreed1476's picture

Baked my second sourdough ever yesterday, and I couldn't be happier with the results.

I used the 1-2-3 Method described by Shiao-Ping at Sourdough Companion. I was persuaded by its simplicity--no traditional recipe to follow, just a ratio.

The starter was a 50% hydration that had sat in the back of my fridge totally untouched for at least 5 months. It was based on Reinhart's starter formula in BBA; after a single failure of a loaf, I pushed it behind the mayo and forgot about it while pursuing other projects.

Then, last week, I read 52 Loaves and was inspired to give sourdough another shot. I poured off the hooch, scraped off the grey stuff, and spent four days nursing it back to vitality. Needless to say, I had my doubts.

Here's how the loaf turned out:


Here's the formula:

100 g 50% hydration levain

200 g water

35 g whole wheat flour

15 g rye

250 g bread flour

7 g salt

Mixed the starter and water, then added the whole wheat and rye, then the bread flour, approximately 50 grams at a time.

After all flours were mixed and hydrated, I let it rest 20 minutes, then added the salt, kneaded about 1 minute on lightly oiled counter, then proceed with a resting-kneading sequence in Dan Lepard fashion: rested 10 minutes, kneaded 10 secs, rested 10 minutes, kneaded 10 secs, rested 30 minutes, kneaded 10 secs, rested 1 hour, kneaded 10 secs).

After that sequence was over, I let it rise about 90 minutes, then preshaped, rested, and shaped it before placing it in a long basket with a towel. It proofed about 3.5 hours at 75F, at which point it passed the spring-back poke test. Loaded it onto my long, skinny homemade peel (not with out major sticking issues with the towel, unfortunately--hence, no scoring), then onto the bakin stone. 500F for 5 minutes (no steam, and I forgot to cover it with my roasting pan), then 450F for another 15. Internal temp was about 210F. Cooled, cut, and took pics.

I think it tastes great--especially with butter--but unfortunately no one else in my household likes sourdough. I think maybe they'll go for sourdough rye or a dark pumpernickel, so perhaps that'll be next. Also, the dough was pretty slack before the final shaping, so I think it could make a good pizza crust.

Overall, I can credit the 1-2-3 Method as the key here--it seems a very "village bakery" type of thing to do, especially when combined with the incredibly effective, non-labor-intensive kneading protocol advocated by Lepard. The more I bake, the more I appreciate simplicity.


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