The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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manuela's picture


I found three interesting ways to shape Vienna rolls in an old professional bakers’ manual published in London in 1909. I scaled down the recipe given in the book—which originally called for 17 lb of flour—but I left it otherwise unchanged. The rolls bake beautifully crispy on the outside and have a nice layered interior. —— Clockwise from the bottom in the picture are shown the cannon roll, the horseshoe, and the twin or double roll.
instructions and pictures are here


susanfnp's picture

I made couronne Bordelaise for this month's BreadBakingDay ("shape" theme; deadline tomorrow so all you bread-shapers get yours in quick if you want to participate!)

Couronne Bordelaise

Detailed instructions here:

This is a pretty easy shape to do, and does not require a special banneton although they make them and I was sucker enough to get one. This is a good shape for slashophobes since no slashing is required.

holds99's picture

Nancy Silverton's Sourdough Whole Wheat BreadNancy Silverton's Sourdough Whole Wheat BreadSourdough Whole Wheat BreadSourdough Whole Wheat Bread

I made these loaves using Nancy Silverton's sourdough whole wheat recipe (The Breads From The LaBrea Bakery).  I previously posted the photos individually.  I hadn't made Ms. Silverton's recipe for a few years so it was a real challenge since I had to make the whole wheat sourdough starter from scratch and it took 3 days of T.L.C.  But I managed to get them into the oven without losing them.  She retards the dough in the fridge for 12-15 hours prior to bringing them out and allowing them to rise, in the bannetons, for 3-4 hours, at room temperture.  The large loaves were a real challenge as they barely fit onto the baking stone in my oven.  I doubled her recipe and made 4 boules (2 - 40 oz. loaves and 2 - 28 oz. loaves.  It was a bit dicey getting the large ones into the oven in one piece but I managed to do it.  The photo is the large loaves.  This exercise (getting them into the oven in one piece)  is good training for Cirque de Soliel. Anyway, I was pleased with the results.  As I said in my previous posting, I know the scoring isn't a work of art but I had to work quickly.  I had some minor problems with a single edge razor blade, scoring them, without tearing the skin but it worked out.  Next time I'm thinking about using a long surgeon's scalpel (only kidding). 


bwraith's picture

As I conducted my home ash content tests during the latest home milling and sifting session, a sourdough starter was accidentally started. The home ash content test involves mixing 5 grams of flour with 100 grams of distilled water, stirring it periodically, and measuring the conductivity of the water until it stabilizes, about 24 hours later. All of that time was spent at about 69F, the temperature of my kitchen in the winter. I noticed a familiar smell, something like yogurt, that was reminiscent of the early stages of some of the starter staring experiments I have conducted in the past. The pH was measured and, sure enough it was around 3.4 for all the jars I was testing, even though the jars had various flours including Heartland Mill AP, Golden Buffalo, and whole wheat, as well as various flours from my milling and sifting experiment.

Since the jars appeared to have fermentation activity in them, I decided to give a try at starting one up. After stirring up the slurry in the Golden Buffalo jar, 20 grams of it was mixed with 30 grams of flour to form a fairly firm dough, which was then placed on a shelf above my coffee machine with a temperature of about 79F. It was left there for 24 hours at the end of which it had risen slightly in volume and still had a bit of a sour milk or yogurt smell.

The culture at the end of 24 hours (48 hours from when the first 5 grams was mixed with water) was fed again by taking 5 grams of the culture and mixing it with 22g or Poland Springs water and 28g of KA AP flour. It was placed at 79F above the coffee machine for another 24 hours, and the result was that it had doubled in volume and was beginning to smell more tangy and vinegary like a typical mature sourdough starter. The consistency was a little runny with small bubbles, but it clearly seemed a little closer to a ripe, healthy sourdough starter than it was the day before.

The culture was again fed the same way and returned for another 24 hours to the 79F shelf above the coffee machine. It had risen by about 4x, smelled like a normal sourdough starter, and had the usual consistency of a somewhat ripe firm sourdough starter.

I'm sure it is ready to be used to make some bread. After starting so many of these starters in the last few years in various experiments, I know what a healthy one is like. It went so smoothly, it seemed worth mentioning, as it is a little different from the usual recipes.

To summarize this accidental process:

Day 1:

Mix 5 grams of very fresh whole wheat flour (or maybe white flour, as the Heartland Mill AP smelled much the same, though less intense) with 100 grams of distilled water (saves any trouble with chlorine, alkalinity or other problems with water), stir, and let sit, covered, at room temperature (I imagine at 79F would work, too) for 24 hours, stirring or swirling periodically.

Day 2:

Stir up the water and flour mixture and take 20 grams of it and place in a clean jar. Add 30 grams of white flour, stir into a thick paste or a firm dough, and let sit at around 79F (probably room temperature would also work, though it might take several more days, depending on how cold it is) for 24 hours.

Day 3 and beyond:

Feed the culture by taking 5 grams of the culture, mix with 20 grams of water and 28 grams of white flour. Let sit for 24 hours at 79F.

Probably you don't need distilled water anymore, in fact it may not be needed at all at the beginning either. It may be good to avoid chlorinated water. I use bottled water without any problems, but my well water is surprisingly alkaline and it seems to have been the cause of some problems with starting starters I've experienced in the past.

The culture should be ready when it no longer turns runny after rising by more than about 3x and has large bubbles in it if you cut into it with a spoon. With the feeding above, it should rise by more than 2x in about 4.5 hours at 79F, about 5.5 hours at 74F, or about 7.5 hours at 69F.

It might take several days longer, but this worked for me faster than any method I've tried in the past.

I suppose it's just a lucky but rare event, but it seemed like every single jar in all these home ash content measurements I've been doing have a very similar smell after 24 hours. I wouldn't be surprised if any of them would have started up by just feeding them.

It's also possible that some sort of cross contamination with my active starter occured, except I did these by mixing distilled water poured from a container that I believe couldn't possibly have had any contamination from my active starters. Also, I only stirred by swirling the jars and didn't use any stirrer or whisk. I did use a fork on subsequent days, but that fork had been through the dishwasher and never used to stir my active sourdough starter. I suppose the jar I used may have somehow had some residue of an active starter in it, but I had recently thoroughly cleaned the jars used in these experiments with soap and hot water.

Anyway, I'd be curious if anyone else gives this a try and it works for them, if you're curious to try it. The things that's a little different about this method from what I've read about or tried in the past is the very high initial hydration (2000%) at room temperature followed by immediate conversion to a firm white starter at a fairly warm 79F. I wonder if there is some unexpected advantage to this method.


gothicgirl's picture

This is something I sort of threw together for dinner Sunday.  I say 'sort of' because you can't just throw puff pastry together, but I already had that ready from the night before.  I just layered thin sliced apples with cinnamon and sugar on the pastry, baked it, and like magic it's dessert!

AnnieT's picture

I just took what might be my best loaf ever from the oven - and it sang to me for several minutes! The recipe (from my notebook) calls it Susan and JMonkey's Sourdough, and I had written "excellent" at the top of the page. It is the recipe that ferments 100g starter, 450g bread flour, 310g water and 10g salt overnight. Stretch and fold 3 times, shape boule and place in parchment lined banneton, spray with oil and refrigerate overnight. I preheated my stone to 500* and used the stainless steel bowl method. The amazing thing is that I used my discarded starter straight from the 'frig - I had saved it thinking maybe English muffins so it wasn't recently refreshed. I was also very surprised to see that the dough rose in the 'frig. I took a picture of the loaf and can't wait to check the crumb, and by golly I hope to post the pictures, A.

ashariel's picture

I'm a novice baker who makes sandwich-style loaves for the household (and occasionally a free-formed loaf for special occasions), but this is my first challah and braided loaf. I used the Challah recipe in the Bread Baker's Apprentice.

Challah, from the BBA recipe

I messed up a bit on the four-strand braiding, but I'm sure it tastes just fine. It's cooling in the kitchen right now.

weavershouse's picture







I made these for dinner tonight along with a salad and it was good eating. I used PR CRUST AND CRUMB Pizza Dough II, with some changes. For the flour I used 1/3 all purpose, 1/3 whole wheat I ground and 1/3 King Arthur Italian Style. At the last minute I decided to double the recipe and then realized I didn't have enough poolish so the only thing I had to make up the missing amount was to add about 1/2 cup of my rye starter. It all worked out fine, the rolls were very tasty. I used about 1/4 of a single batch recipe (about one pizza's worth) to make 4 rolls about 6" long. I patted the dough out into rectangles, added thin slices of Asiago cheese, chopped cherry tomatoes and sliced onions, s & p, and about a 5" piece of well cooked and browned Italian Sausage. Wrapped the dough around and sealed. Baked on parchment covered cookie sheet till nice and brown. Oiled tops when they came out of oven. A nice crisp salad and we were happy.

ejm's picture

I made these loaves for Bread Baking Day #6.

wild bread with rye and sesame seeds © ejm January 2008

When shaping freeform bread, I usually shape it in boules because that's what I know how to do. But there is a request for shaped breads, specifically NOT "batard, boule or baguette" for Bread Baking Day #6.

I took a look through our bread baking cookbooks to find some traditional shapes for bread. Lo and behold, there was that same sideways "S" shape in Pane Sicialano in The Italian Baker by Carol Field.

Considering the difficulties I've been having with our wild starter and bread making lately, there's no way I was going to try that particular recipe again right now!

Then I remembered reading (where WAS it?!) that any bread can be put into any shape. How handy is that?

So I mixed up our wild bread recipe, but this time, added just a little bit of dark rye flour and sprinkled sesame seeds on top of the loaves just after shaping the loaves. I also added a tiny bit (1/16 tsp) of active dry yeast to the bread, because I'm so nervous that our starter isn't strong enough.

I formed one of the loaves into a crescent and one into the sideways 'S' shape Lucia shape sideways 'S', one of the traditional shapes for Lucia bread.

Happily, the occhi shaped dough expanded nicely. I had to assume that the crescent shaped one was risen enough too. Both were rather flat when I put them in the oven. But I was very happy (read "very relieved") that both did get some oven spring and turned out to be relatively presentable.

The results? Delicious!

I'm amazed at how the flavour of the rye comes through. The bread was quite firm in the crust with lots of un-uniform holes. In the somewhat chewy crumb, there was just a hint of sourness.

Here is the recipe I used:

If you would like to participate Bread Baking Day #6

The deadline for BBD#06 is 1 February 2008. For complete details on how to participate, please go to:


And finally, if you haven't already, don't forget to read about

umbreadman's picture

This is my second time working with a significant amount of rye, my first being a 100% rye: Vollkornbrot. That was really fun since i had no idea what to expect, it wasn't too difficult, and the people i made it for (immigrated from Germany) said it was wonderful. This time however, I scaled it back and went for a 40% Rye with Caraway Seeds. 


I used Hamelman's formula and stuck to it pretty well I think. I don't have a lot to compare it to in terms of rye experience, but i think it was pretty good. I wasn't expecting an open crumb, I did get some pretty good spring and i bet i could have gotten some nice slashing if I put my cuts parallel, but i saw a picture of a rye with this slashing style, so i went this way. I put some seeds on top, and I think that might have been a bit too much caraway for my tastes. Other than that though, it was pretty good, the chewyness is something I like. One day soon, I might try a vollkornbrot again, and perhaps down the road, pumpernickel will make an appearance. 

Rye seems to have this mystique, and it's piqued my curiosity....I'll get you yet you little berry..... 


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