The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


RobertS's picture

Continuing my experiments with Lahey bread...

I cut up fresh cherry tomatoes and a medium sized "regular" tomato, and threw in 2 tsps ground oregano. Then I hand-mixed them into my gorgeous, gorgeous Lahey dough which had fermented for 26 hours. It was a struggle, and when it ended, I thought I had thoroughly destroyed all the gas and air in the dough. I also thought that the dough had finished all the fermenting it was going to ferment, as it looked somewhat shiny, like a kind of cheap plastic. So with heavy heart (not really, it was fun!) I let it sit in my fermenting tub for another hour and fifteen minutes, not really expecting to see any change. To my surprise, back came at least a modicum of bubbles, and, taking no chances, I poured it onto a wheat-branned towel and did a sloppy. mimimal fold job as best as I could, and turned on my convection oven to 500-degrees. Twenty-minutes later, I was dismayed to see the dough was plaster-stuck to the towel (like an idiot I should have first turned the dough onto my counter and floured it before towel-wrapping it). Getting the dough into the pot was---ahem--an adventure, (and I had to throw the towel into the garbage). There really wasn't enough dough to fill my cast-iron pot properly, and what I managed to place into it looked like it had been torn apart by four fighting pitbulls pulling from all the points of the compass.

Naturally my expectations were low. Who ever heard of waiting for 26 hours to load veggies into a dough, to say nothing of eschewing the time-honoured tradition of inserting them by flattening the dough, distributing the pieces all over it, then rolling it up like a carpet? And to abuse the dough thoroughly (Lahey & Reinhart, excuse me), and pot it in such a sorry, flaccid state?

Well, this bread hardly came out singing Hallelujah --- a lot of the tomatoes gravitated too close to the crust, and the crumb was a wee bit over-moist and closed in places --- but it DID have a truly memorable crust, and the taste was first-class.

Question to anyone who reads this: any suggestiuons for next time, given the same ingredients? Comments would be appreciated greatly, since I am a complete novice. See another picture below.

txfarmer's picture


I have wanted to take classes from SFBI for so long, but TX is not exactly close to SF, and my day job really gets in the way of scheduling. When I saw they started offering some weekend workshops, I jumped on the opportunity. And of course, I picked the baguette class, since that's my main obsession.

Arriving early to be greeted by friendly classmates, teacher, and lots of fresh croissants. While we were going through our class, the students were just producing breads nonstop the entire time, and lucky us got to sample a few.


Hmmm, I wonder if I can ask for this to be my birthday gift? I am sure we can fit one in.... if we tear down our living room and den!


Would anyone notice if I just take a couple?....I AM KIDDING!


Now, let's get to work, 3 types for the first day: straight dough, poolish, and sponge. All done with minimal mixing (hand mixed to incorporate), and 3 sets of S&F.


I have done S&F every weekend, but handling 7.5KG of dough is decidely different from handling 1KG. Note to self, must lift weights.

We had lectures while waiting for the dough, but my favorite part is the hands on part. Look at the big tubs of dough, this  is when I realized that professional baking is a very very very physical job. Oh, I also would like a kitchen that's as big as this!

Teacher Frank is showing us how to divide and preshape. Even pieces, even tension, repeat.

We make 5 pieces for each type of baguette, my preshaping is far from perfect


Many many many trays of dough - 15 pieces per person per day

It's almost 2pm, we are starving. Let's get these babies shaped already! My batch of straight dough baguettes here - with my name on it!

Lunch , thank goodness. We inhaled that one. On 2nd day, we had pizza (yum!) and wine for lunch. Let's just say there were a lot more giggling in the afternoon session.

Well fed, let's check on the dough, ready to be scored and baked!

Loading is "interesting". Frank also showed us the home oven method (baking stone, cast iron skillets underneads to create steam etc.).

Best part, time to taste and critique! These are Frank's, hole-y and beautiful

These are mine. The dough is about 68% hydration, not so wet, so scoring was not difficult, I am semi-happy with the left two, no idea what happened for the one on the right. Seems that I loaded it too close to the right edge, didn't get browned on that side. It's straight dough, poolish, and sponge from left to right.


Not as open as Frank's crumb, need more practice with the new shaping method.


We all like the taset of sponge one the best, but all three are delicious.


We did 3 more formulas on the 2nd day (With teff, with sunflower seeds, and ww with wheat germ), and tried epi too.


All in all, a great experience! A lot of the info were familiar to me thanks to the knowledgable people here at TFL, but it helps tremendously to see close up how a professional handles the dough , and practice on 15 baguettes each day. Frank was very helpful answering questions and helping too. The shaping and preshaping methods are slightly different from what I have been doing previously, I like this new way better, will keep practicing at home for sure. Everyone ended up with loads of bread at the end of each day, since I was from out of town, I gave most of mine away to a classmate, who then distributed to elders in her neighbourhood - makes me happy.


turosdolci's picture

It is said that making pesto requires patients and love. The motion of the wooden pestle against the stone mortar brings out the oils. Trofietti Liguri is a traditional dish in Liguria.


merlie's picture

Growing up in England in the late forties, early fifties, Tatt's cafe Near Folkestone Central train station served the most delicious Belgium Buns. I remember them being 4-5inches across and about 3/4 of an inch high. They were soft and sticky. filled with currants and glazed with transparent icing. It seems that there is only one recipe on the whole of the internet for these wonderful buns but although I have tried it many times it is just not right! Does anyone else remember these buns or have a recipe for them?

( Mr Noel Tatt was a young man when his parents ran the cafe - I believe he now owns a large greeting card company - Maybe he'd remember....... )

Thank you to any one who can help in this search - Merlie. 

SylviaH's picture

My fig tree gave me it's first lovely figs of the summer.  For tonights dinner I made a pizza with figs, goat cheese, pine nuts and a lovely sweet thick basalmic glaze.  I had some frozen pizza dough and the recipe for the dough is right on the TFL front page list of recipes or just click Here.    

I stretched the dough nice and thin and thicker for the crown.  It made a lovely crispy pizza crust.   

I first drizzled a little extra virgin olive oil.  Then a drizzle of delicious balsamic glaze, topped it with sliced fanned out figs,  dollops of fresh goat cheese and a sprinkly of fresh pine nuts.  All the flavors just blend so deliciously together.  This pizza makes a delicious appetizer.

Baked it in a one hour pre-heated 550F convection heat oven with a pizza stone until nicely browned and a little char. 


                  My Jack Russell 'Joey' eats the low hanging ones on the tree..He also pulls off my cucumbers he can reach and eats the whole thing!




                                                                                 The Pine Nuts toasted up nicely while the figs carmelized


                   Bottom nicely browned and crispy



                                         The Fig and Goat Cheese Pizza made a great start with the Cucumber salad and Chicken Parmesan Dinner


                                        Fig and Goat Cheese Pizza Submitted to Yeastspotting




MichaelH's picture

Hamelman's 5 Grain Levain is becoming one of our everyday favorites. Baked per the formula in Bread with added wheat germ.


Chausiubao's picture


I had the good fortune of being placed on the bench this morning, which translates to many, many baguettes. Here for your viewing pleasure were the best (probably) and the worst (probably) of the bake. My beastie caught underneath the loading board as it was being slid into the  oven, so its back end got tucked underneath itself on the loading.

In addition, because it caught underneath itself, it glued itself to the baking stone, and didn't slide in on ball bearings of flour as it should have, so it was a bit warped. Add imperfect shaping and scoring and what we've got is quite the beastie looking baguette.  But despite all my heavy handed-ness, the crumb wasn't too badly torn up inside.

I blame elderly dough! The older a dough is, the harder it is to work with, whether dividing, shaping, or scoring. A more relaxed dough with much acids built up in it will be elastic and have little extensibility, sticky and difficult to handle, sticking to hands and blades alike. On the one hand acids toughen up the dough increasing elasticity and on the other hand the dough is starting to break down (if this hypothesis is true, the dough has probably reached its limit of fermentation products, which work to break down the gluten, maybe)

I do hope I'm finally getting the hang of scoring, particularly with a lame. I'm getting less "breaks" between the openings of the scores, and I was actually able to notice the grigne opening up properly, due to the angle of the blade. All in all, not a bad bench day. Now I just have to master bench-work with a miche, heavy shaping, and a busy store.


Kingudaroad's picture

I had some apprehension after seeing that this is almost an 80 % hydration dough and being somewhat of a rookie, and not owning a mixer. I made the women and children leave, just in case, and went for it.

   I used the recipe and technique exactly as in BBA with the exeption of mixing by hand, which I accomplished by mixing in the bowl with a big wooden spoon and a plastic bowl scraper. I mixed it for about 20 minutes adjusting the water until it felt like it was barely coming off the sides of the bowl.

   The shaping was actually very easy using Reinharts great instruction and pictures, but the scoring was another story. I guess I'll get it down someday. I got some great color and oven spring, the holes were nice and big. The crust was hard and crunchy like I like it, and the taste was outstanding. Really a real easy dough to make. I can't wait to use it for pizza.


A nice baguette with a real

nice Beefmaster fresh from the garden. 



dmsnyder's picture


These rolls are a riff off the test recipe called "Seven Sisters" from Norm Berg and Stan Ginzburg's much-anticipated New York Jewish bakery history/cookbook. I cannot divulge the whole recipe, but I think it's okay to say those are basically cinnamon rolls made with babka dough and baked in a cluster.

After eating some (I'm not telling how many.) of the Seven Sisters, my wife made a number of suggestions: 

1. Make them again!

2. Make them less sweet.

3. I like them more nutty. (That's why she sticks with me. It's not 'cause I'm so sweet.)

4. Make the rolls separated. The browned outside is the best.

Made up, egg washed and ready for the final proof

I had found that, at least in my oven, the rolls' tops browned too quickly, while the sides were still quite pale. So, in addition to complying with request #4, I also baked them at 25ºF cooler than the Seven Sisters.

I used the same filling, except I used over twice as much pecans. I borrowed a trick from SusanFNP and left half the pecans in large pieces and finely chopped the other half.

Just out of the oven. Ready to rack and glaze.

In compliance with request #2, I glazed the rolls much more sparingly after baking. In fact, I left two un-glazed, as specified by Version 1.1 of the above fix list.

I think both versions - "Seven Sisters" and "Eight Distant Cousins" - are pretty darn good. My wife loved the less sweet and more nutty version, even with the glaze.




JoeVa's picture

Finally THE sister approved my "100% Rye Sourdough". She does not spend a lot of word about my bread but this time she said: "uhhhmm it's more ..." stop.


Overall Formula
[100%] Whole Rye Flour - 500g
[96%] Water - 480g
[2%] Gray Salt - 10g


Soaker (20% of the overall flour)
[100%] Whole Rye Flour - 100g
[100%] Water (room temperature) - 100g
[2%] Gray Salt - 2g

Rye Sourdough (30% of the overall flour)
[100%] Whole Rye Flour - 150g
[120%] Water (room temperature) - 180g
[10%] Active Rye Starter - 15g

Dough (Desired dough temperature 26..28°C)
Whole Rye Flour - 250g
Water - 200g
Gray Salt - 8g
Soaker - 202g
Rye Sourdough - 345g


  • Prepare the rye sourdough (you want it ripe when you'll mix the dough, based on your room temperature this could be 6 to 16 hours before). The soaker can be mixed at the same time.
  • Mix the dough until all the ingredients are well combined, about 5-10 minutes by hand with a spoon and a spatula. The desired dough temperature is 26-28°C.
  • After about 1/2 hour prepare a baking pan. It should be lightly oiled and coated with whole rye flour. 
  • Move the dough into the pan and proof @28°C till rised about 50% (something like 1+1/2 hour to 2+1/2 hours). The pan can be filled for 2/3 its volume, when profed the dough will almost fill the pan.
  • Bake on stone with steam @250°C for the first 10 minutes then 45 minutes @220°C. You can remove the bread from the pan the last 10 minutes of this time to dry the sides and the bottom of the bread.


As usual "Pure Rye Sourdough" is great. The crumb is moisty and very open and the secret is a good dough hydration level. Look at this:


I think this bread can compete with two of the best rye I tasted in Italy: Delicatessen (P.zza Santa Maria Beltrade 2, Milano) and Andrea Perino (Via Cavour 10, Torino).

For Italian bakers: I used stone grounded organic whole rye flour from Mulino Marino.


Subscribe to RSS - blogs