The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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AnnieT's picture

I have been meaning to report a new (to me) technique I have been using, although technique is a rather fancy name for it. After the dough has sat for 30 minutes autolyse I wet the counter and my right hand and do a sort of modified Bertinet method. I pick the dough up and slap it down hard and repeat several times. Just one hand and really slam it down, and in no time the dough is shiny and ready to ferment. Makes the trivets fall face down and the neighbors probably wonder what I am up to, but it is very satisfying and the bread is good. Still my favorite loaf, but gaaarp's 5 Grain Sourdough sounds tempting... A.

Stephanie Brim's picture
Stephanie Brim

So my sourdough starter isn't ready yet. I've decided I'm going to baby it a little longer with three stirrings a day and lots of love. That being the case, I still needed to bake. This came about because I had oatmeal for lunch today. Strange lunch, I know, but sometimes you just have those cravings that must be heeded. I envisioned this as a soft-crusted bread with a dense but moist crumb and a decently caramelized crust. I wanted a little maple flavor, as well as the flavor of the brown sugar. I almost got it, but I think that this is still a work in progress. Not using instant oatmeal may be a start. It also needs a tad more salt than the teaspoon I put in. The only thing I'm lacking to make it completely from scratch is the maple syrup, which I'll get on friday, and I'll bake it again this weekend from old fashioned oats, brown sugar, and maple syrup. For anyone who still wants the recipe, it is below. I think I'm starting to get the scoring thing. These didn't blow out on the bottom. They were also better proofed than my last loaf. I let them sit for about an hour before baking. The real test of any bread making, for me anyway, is the appearance of the crumb. This is, by far, my best for a more dense loaf. I'm really loving what I'm learning here. I'm having a lot of fun baking (sometimes more than my boyfriend, our daughter, and I can eat, but it's proving to be very educational. Recipe: Maple Brown Sugar Oatmeal Bread - Take One Prepare the oatmeal: 1 packet instant maple & brown sugar oatmeal 1/2 cup water Mix and heat for 1 minute. It will be almost done, but not quite. Allow to cool to just warm. Assemble the rest of your ingredients: 3 1/3 cups flour 2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast 2 tablespoons of butter 1/4 cup lightly packed brown sugar (very lightly) 1 egg, lightly beaten 2/3 cup milk (lukewarm) 1 1/2 tsp salt Disolve the yeast in the milk. In your large bowl you use for mixing the final dough, mix together the oatmeal, sugar, and egg. Once incorporated, mix in the milk. Once all this is well mixed, add 2 cups of flour and the salt and mix until you get a thick paste. Add the rest of the flour in 1/3 cup increments until it's almost all in. If your cups are the same as my cups, it should take all but the littlest bit of the flour. If not, you want the dough to feel very sticky and barely hand-kneadable. Once mixed together so that there's barely any flour left in the bowl, rest for 10 minutes. After the resting period, turn the dough out onto your kneading surface and "knead", as well as you can, for a few minutes. 5 or so. Bulk ferment should be about 60-80 minutes. Mine was on the longer side because of the temperature of my kitchen. I stretched and folded the dough three times during this time. Got very good gluten development. Preshape and allow to sit for 5 or so minutes. Shape loaves, then proof for about 45 minutes to an hour, depending on the warmth of your kitchen. Score and bake in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes, then turn down to 350 and bake until a thermometer reads 200 degrees or so.

SylviaH's picture

 I knew these where a hit when my husband took his first bite and said " Oh Man These Are Good"..he usually doesn't say much...just eats!  The recipe is from the front page of .  I used my left over Rye Starter with GM organic AP Flour and the barley malt syrup instead of sugar and water, melted butter, with powder milk directions.  I also freeze any leftover fully cooked waffles so the midnite snacker can have his toaster waffles!

This is a very rare breakfast treat for us! 

Any of you Oldies recognize the "Plate"?




goody1006's picture

I'm new to the forum, back into sourdough after far too many years to mention.

A few who welcomed me mentioned you'd want to see photos of the fruits of my labor....well, here's the 'photo record' of Tuesday's efforts.

In honor of our 44Th president, I've named it: Obama Bread!
At 8am, 2 cups starter, fed with 1/2c water & 3/4c plain unbleached flour:
Starter 8am.jpg.2
1 hr later, almost tripled in size:

1hr later.jpg.2 _______________________________ after 3 'fold & turns' over 1 1/2 hr--almost doubled in size, ready for oven:

after 3 stretch & folds.jpg.1 ___________________________ fresh from oven, with a nifty brushing of butter!:

fresh from oven.jpg.2 _________________________ 1st cut--texture! this is the lightest bread so far--I'm thinking due to the milk & sugar in the recipe--a bit too sweet, so next time, I'll cut back on the sugar...maybe a bit on the milk, too:

1st cut.texture.jpg.1

so, there ya have it~
How'd I do?

JMonkey's picture

I swear, it's just about impossible to kill a starter. I'd left my poor rye starter unfed in the fridge for at least three months, and when I opened it a couple of days ago, the top was a slimy grey with some sort of fuzzy stuff starting to take hold. But, as I often find is the case, underneath this disgusting, repulsive crust, though the starter looked tired, it also looked undamaged.

 I fed a dab of this under-crust starter a few times and it soon looked ready to make a loaf of bread. So I did -- a loaf of 40% Rye with Caraway.

Such a tasty loaf. And it paired well with Carol Lessor's Chicken with Ginger & Dill Soup from Souped Up!. I'd been admiring the recipe for some time, but it called for boiling a whole chicken, which I usually don't have handy. At the Winter Farmer's Market this weekend, however, a woman was selling stew hens for cheap, so I picked one up for about $6. For those who have the book, it seemed like overkill to me to boil the chicken and vegetables in chicken stock, so I just used water.

It's a good soup.

The bread was good, too. Here's how I made it (It's the same recipe that I put in the handbook. I adapted it from Jeffrey Hamelman's Bread so that it would work with my 100% hydration starter. I also bumped up the water in the loaf and omitted the commercial yeast. I figure the sourdough is strong enough to do the job so long as I've got the time to wait.

Whole rye flour: 40%
White flour: 60%
Water: 75%
Salt: 1.8%
Caraway seeds: 1.8%

40% of the flour (all the rye) is in the starter at 100% hydration

White flour: 300 grams or about 2 generous cups
Rye starter (at 100% hydration): 400 grams or 1.25 cups
Water: 175 grams or ¾ cup
Salt: 9 grams or 1.25 tsp
Caraway seeds: 9 grams or 1 Tbs + 1 tsp

Dissolve the starter into the water, and then add the salt and caraway seeds. Add the flour and mix until everything is hydrated.

Dough development and the first rise
You’ll want to do either the stretch and fold or traditional kneading. Either way, it’ll be a little tricky because the rye will make the dough sticky. Keep at it – the dough will come together, though it will be more clay-like than a 100% wheat dough.

Be gentle. You want to retain as many of those air bubbles as possible. Rounds and batards are the traditional shapes.

Second rise
You can let it rise for another 2 hours at room temperature. You can also speed things up (and increase sourness) by placing the dough on an upturned bowl in the bottom of a picnic cooler, throwing a cup of boiling water in the bottom and covering it quickly. After an hour, throw another cup of hot water in. The rise should only take a 90 minutes this way.

Score the bread as you like. Hash marks are traditional for rounds, and batards usually take a single, bold stroke down the center or a couple of baguette-style slashes.

I baked this in a cloche at 450 degrees for about 40 minutes, taking the top of the cloche off about halfway through.

Tomorrow: a big fat tempeh reuben for lunch! (What?! That doesn't sound good? Truth be told, it sounds awful to everyone else but me in my family, as well. But to me ... heaven.)

crunchy's picture

Last weekend I finally had time for baking, after a long and exhausting week. Continuing the exploration of Hamelman's book "Bread", I ventured into the Detmolder method section. I love ryes and I love a good challenge, so naturally the three-stage 90% rye had to be made. My rye starter is always very lively, but to my surprise, it was going out of control by the end of the third build. The final dough was a sticky mess; in fact, it resembled clay more than any sort of dough. Hamelman warns not to add more flour even if the dough is tacky. I stuck to his advice. This is what came out of the oven.

I waited a day before cutting into it to let the crumb set fully. This loaf was sweeter than any other rye I've made before. The crust was delectably crunchy and almost nutty. The crumb was dense, as could be expected of a 90% rye, yet moist and airy.Det90ryecrumb

That same weekend I also made a whole wheat muligrain (pg.169). Hamelman recommends some grains, but leaves the choice largely up to the baker. I used a combination of wheat and rye berries, corn meal, millet, and sunflower seeds. The flavor was incredibly rich and deep, with a tender whole grain presence in the middle and a lingering sweet honey finish.

And finally, there was a Vermont sourdough (pg. 153), also delicious. The dough was a pleasure to work with. This book is a tremendous resource, I can't recommend it enough.

Floydm's picture

Taking a break from fence rebuilding, I've updated a bunch of the modules on the site.  I added something many folks have asked for, a private messaging (PM) system, so users should be able to send and receive notes to and from other individual members of the community.  It looks like is a pretty clean, simple, easy to use system.  Let me know if you have any problems with it.

I  don't anticipate any issues, but I should make clear that as site admin I can read anyone's private messages.  I would only do so if someone reports incidents of getting creepy PMs from someone they don't really know, PM spamming, or any other PMs that violate the "honor principle" that governs the way The Fresh Loaf community governs itself.


cmckinley's picture

I am making my first loaf of bread with liquid levain.  It seeems to be rising so assuming that is a good sign!  When you refresh levain do you have to discard some of it or can you just keep feeding it?  I am very new at this but determined to get it all down!  I will post pictures of my finished product.  

scsunshine's picture

I decided to try and make homemade bread, seeing as the cost of the ingredients is less than paying for bread at the store. I have only made regular bread once, when I was very young and it was more than 20 years ago.

I started with the "lesson one" recipe, since the cost of ingredients was minimal, and if I messed it up I wouldnt be out much. After reading some other blogs and other website tips on succsessful bread making, I think the experience turned out well enough for me to want to attempt again!

Although the instructions in lesson one are nice, I do think there are somethings that need to be detailed and somethings that need altered. This is what I did.

  • Reduce salt from 2 tsp to 1 1/2 tsp. I felt it would have made the bread too salty. I have been baking other for a long time and never use salt in the recipes, but I figured it was needed in bread.

  • Mix the salt in with the flour. When baking, I usualy mix dry ingredients first, it seems to make it much easier to ensure that the ingredients are more thoughouly mixed. However, after reading some tips, I did find that this is the best way, as mixing salt with the active yeast packets will actuall kill off the yeast.

  • I used Fleishmans dry active yeast packet. I followed the instructions on the back of the package to proof the yeast. To "proof" yeast add it to 1/4 cup water (100-110 degrees F) and 1 tsp sugar. I used a candy thermometer to make sure the temp was with in range. My water temp was 105-106. The yeast will sit for ten minutes. Since it was very cold today, i thought the water would cool quickly, so I added the same 110 warm water to a large bowl and placed the cup of yeast inside to keep it warm. After ten minutes it was very frothy on top and watery on the bottom.

  • I used warm water to add to the flour, 100-110 degrees F. I didnt add it all at once, but rather had it in a measuring cup to add slowly. I did have to add about 1/3 cup more water than recommend, and then added a small handful of flour.

As I was mixing the flour with water, I noticed that the dough was very sticky and it was clinging to my fingers. So I added a bit more flour until i was able to pick it up with out it sticking to my hands, but yet it still felt "wet"

I also used a glaze mix of one egg white and a splash of milk.

Jw's picture

I had to clean up some 'almost old' flour, so I just made simple bread with the standard recipe this weekend. 

In half of the dough I added a bit more yeast, and then I used a slowrise-overnight method. This is the top-right bread. The bread is not that high, but has more tast. I guess it got too cold, which killed the rising process. 

For the other part of the dough (the larger breads) I used standard yeast, but started that with lukewarm water and a bit of sugar (for about 20 minutes). Standard mixen (a bit kneading, by hand), wait 1 hour, some real kneading and then shaping. wait another hour before I put it in the oven. at 200C. I put some water on top before I put the bread in the oven, repeat after 35 minutes. Sometimes I turn the oven up for the last minutes to get a better crust.

The scoring is also relatively simple here. I sometimes use a string or a sharp knife for better results. The picture below shows the different in structure of the two breads. 

Smakelijk (bon appetit).


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