The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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dailybread101's picture

Guys and Gals,

Just found interesting guides and newsletters (Baking Update Newsletter) from Lallemand, a well-known ingridients produser and researcher. Hope, this may be useful for our bread-baking community.

This is a table of content:

Baking Update

Volume 1:

Volume 2:

Baking Innovations
dmsnyder's picture









Thesee baguettes are based on the formula given to Janedo by Anis Bouabsa, with Jane's modification - adding 100 gms of sourdough starter to the dough. The formula and method have been described in some detail in my last blog entry:

 If these look substantially similar to those pictured in that entry, they are. My point is that this formula appears to be reliable and is yielding consistant and gratifying results for me.

 That said, this batch was superior to the last in a some respects: First, the crumb is even more open. Second, the flavor is much better. It is very mildly sour but also sweeter. Third, the crumb has a chewier texture. Fourth, the shape of the cross section is more round. Fifth, my scoring was more consistant.

I did make a few modifications in ingredients and method. While these may seem trivial, I believe those of us who have participated in "The Great Baguette Quest" have found that these sorts of small differences make the difference between "good" and "great" results.

So, my modifications from the previous baguette bake were:

1. My starter was more fully activated when I mixed the dough.

2. I included the starter in addition to the flour and water to the initial mix that autolysed.

3. I got distracted and forgot to add the yeast and salt until the last set of stretch and folds. In other words, shortly before putting the dough in the refrigerator. The gluten tightened up dramatically and quickly after the salt was added, but it was pretty fully developed already. (This is not recommended, and I'm not sure what if any difference it made in the final product.) Because I wanted to be sure the yeast and salt were well distributed, I ended up doing more folds - probably 15-20 more, and this probably resulted in fuller gluten development which may have contributed to the open crumb.

4. Following foolishpoolish's lead, I rested the dough only about 30 minutes after dividing and pre-shaping, and I proofed for only 30 minutes. (Bouabsa rests 45 minutes and proofs for 60 minutes.)

I am not much of a baguette fan, generally speaking, but this batch was good enough to motivate further baguette adventures.


dailybread101's picture

)  I'll re-do it to make it:-less salty- I'll give it about 30 minutes of proofing after shaping (not more!) - I'll try to add more sourness by fermenting my rye sour overnight- I'll try to make the crust softer.

Greenstein’s Corn (RYE) Bread. This is my first try. :) 

I'll re-do it tand make it:
- less salty
- I'll give it about 30 minutes of proofing after shaping (not more!) - maybe this will help me to avoid crust cracks
- I'll try to add more sourness by fermenting my rye sour overnight, cos I am ethnically Russian and we like sour rye breads
- I'll try to make the crust softer, cos my husband likes it softer. :)

Front view
Front view

At night :)

In the morning :)

Close view

Thanks in advance for your comments!

ejm's picture

The other day when I made these hamburger buns, based on Susan's (Wild Yeast) recipe for soft hamburger rolls.

hamburger buns

What excellent hamburger buns!!

And easy to make too! Buns are SO much easier to shape than loaves! The only slight difficulty I had with the recipe was with the fractions of grams Susan called for. My fancy new scale isn't THAT fancy. It will not register partial grams.

The part I really loved about the recipe was the instruction on how to get the sesame seeds onto the tops of the buns. I've always sprinkled them on. But Susan has a much better method:

[S]hape [each piece] into a tight ball. [...] Roll the top of the ball on a wet towel to moisten it, then in sesame seeds.

How smart is that!? The seeds all go onto the buns instead of being scattered on the pan below.

I did make a couple of changes to Susan's recipe. I used active dry yeast instead of instant and decided to use only one egg rather than the two she called for. To make up for the missing liquid, I added a quarter cup (or so) of water. I also decided to add the equivalent of a cup of skim milk by adding powdered milk.

We used the buns for vegetarian burgers* garnished with cheese, bacon, red leaf lettuce, tomato, pickle, bacon (ha! why not?), mustard and eggplant relish. And that red stuff? It's beet salad. And that golden crispy stuff? Onion rings made from the left-overs after feeding wild yeast!

hamburger and onion rings

* To make the burgers, we used chickpeas as the base, basically following our falafel recipe but putting in thyme, onions and garlic, rather than the middle eastern spices and coriander leaf. We were completely thrilled with the results and may never go back to ground meat burgers again....

yves's picture

Well, I went a little crazy with kitchen equipment over the past couple of weeks. I finally found myself a pizza stone (two actually), as well as proofing baskets, and a mixer! Yes i went crazy! And you have no idea how hard some of it was to find... I ended up getting the pizza stones while I was in Amsterdam on business! At an amazing kitchen store called Duikelman, if you ever visit Amsterdam and want to see a *really* nice kitchen goods store its worth the visit. Right alongside the museums and art galleries and other tourist attractions. ;-) But then I had to lug them on the train back to Germany! I really wasn't able to find a single store in my home town that sold them. Same went with the baskets actually, so i got myself a nice one for proofing boules at Duikelman but then of course once I got it I found a *really* cheap place to buy them close to home. After searching all kinds of place I finally found them in Metro (a wholesaler) of all places. With a bit of linen cloth I MacGyver'ed myself a couple of nice little proofing baskets.

All told this bread thing has set me back some nice dough (heh) in terms of proper equipment, but its fun, and my kitchen is the better off for it. The mixer is actually one of these multipurpose jobos that will come in useful in all sorts of ways. I cant count the number of times Ive skipped a recipe because making it without proper tools would just be too time consuming. Anyway, thats the way I'm justifying the purchase to myself when I start feeling guilty. :-)

The mixer is a big deal for me. Having used it only once, to make Norwich Sourdough, its already pretty clear that it will totally change making bread for me, making it easier to do right with much less mess. The pizza stone seems to have had some effect, but im not sure how much, possibly I havent heated it up long enough first, I want to test more.

Anyway, about Norwich Sourdough.. The Norwich Sourdough I did as my inaugeral attempt with the mixer was easily the nicest sourdough ive managed to do so far. Perfect shape and rise, beautiful crumb and crust, and very easy to follow directions. One of these days Ill get myself set up to post pictures :-)

I would heartily recommend my fellow novice bakers to try the Norwich Sourdough recipe. It worked out great for me! So good im going to try it again after I finish this post. :-) One thing she doesnt include is a formula but instead only the recipe. Of course thats pretty easy to calculate from here recipe. Here it is:

%75 : 900 flour
%10 : 120 rye
%50 : 600 water
%30 : 360 starter 1:1
%1.92 : 23g NaCl

Flour = 900 + 120 + (360/2) = 1200
Water = 600 + (360/2) = 780

Hydration = 780/1200 = %65
Total = Flour + Water + NaCL = 2003g

Do look at the original page tho. The author has some important instructions there that you should read, and frankly the blog is worthy of a bookmark for any baker's browser. The author has lots of nice recipes and good style and touch for explaining a recipe. I think her site is great.

The other interesting thing Ive learned recently regarded diastatic malt. I fed a bit to my starter to give a it a bit of a kick last night when I was doubling it for todays Norwich Sourdough recipe. It went crazy! Instead of just doubling it trippled or more. Just insane. Maybe i used too much. But obviously the sourdough *really* liked it. :-) I think if you think your sourdough is sluggish a little dose of diastatic malt might be the thing to perk it up. So to speak :-)

Actually, since my last blog my starter situation has changed somewhat, and I guess I could stabilized. I got annoyed at maintaining two starters and mixed them together. The result is quite nice, no issues there, and since I dont need to keep two cultures separate anymore I have a free jar, so ive started a process of swapping.

Each day I feed it in its current jar, and then afterwards pour it into the new jar and put the old jar in the dishwasher for cleaning. That way no splatters or mess gets on the side of the new jar. I then use a piece of tape on the jar to mark how full the jar was post mixing, and then observe over the next 24 hours what happens, marking the highpoint (as shown by streaks on the glass or direct observation) also. Doing this over a few weeks Ive come to know the behaviour of my starter pretty well. It definitely has the capability of doubling or more in under 24 hours (more like 12) and it often appears to more than double. This says to me my starter is alive and well. Yay!


Kuret's picture

Yesterday i decided to make two batches of bread, one jewish rye style bread and also the standard SFBI WW sourdough. When preparing the rye bread I made a big mistake and used a formula that I had written down wich was way off the original formula. This one contained 75% prefermented flour, giving me a dough with absolutley no structure. However I managed to have it hold together using heavy flouring and S&F manouvres, the end result however was very flat but tasty rye bread.

Ugly rey bread

The colors are way off due to a bad camera, in reality the bread is light brown in the slashes and wery floury white all over.

I also made two loaves of WW bread from the SFBI advanced bread and pastries book, I first made 1000g of dough and then divided into two pieces and kneaded in some cut up figs in one of them. I let these two small doughs ferment overnight in my fridge. As I love the taste of sesame seeds I decided to roll the fig loaf in them wich gave it a very appealing look.

The colors on this one is off too, but I hope you get a decent idea of how the bread might look in person.

The formula for the WW bread is as follows:

Starter: 67g sourdough (50% H) + 42g water + 70g AP flour + 10g WW flour + 5g rye flour Let this ferment until you feel its ready, dependinggreaty on the speed of your culture.

Final dough: Starter + 183g bread flour + 275g WW flour + 350g water + 12g salt + 110g dried figs cut into small pieces (roughly 6 figs)

1 hour before preparing the final dough; cut the figs into small pieces about the size of raisins and put them in water to soak. When making the final dough pour off the water from the figs and use this as water in the dough if you want to increase the fig flavour. Mix the dough without the figs until its almost done. Now you have a choice of either incorporating the figs using your machine or incorporating them using a folding type method. I prefer folding but this may led to unevenly distributed figs inside the bread.

After incorporating the figs you should have a firm dough wich easily ruptures if the figs get too close to the surface, don´t worry though this can be remedied later. Let the dough ferment for ½h and then put in you refrigerator. I left it there for 11h, and also an additional ½h in room temperature prior to shaping.

Preheat your oven to 480f, divide your dough into 550 g pieces and preshape trying not to break the skin of the dough with any fig pieces surfacing. When shaping your dough try not to use to much flour as this will result in difficulties when you try to coat the bread in sesame seeds, after shaping roll the loaves in sesame seeds and then proof in brotforms or similar "mock up" (bread pan lined with cloth) for 45minutes. The sesame seeds helps the skin of the dough as they are preventing sticking, also due to how I incorporate the figs there is usually dough skin underneath the figs too so therefore the structure does not get too disturbed by breakage as long as it does not end up in sticktion.

Bake the bread at 480 for 10 minutes steaming rigorously at the beginning of the bake, then lower temp to 440f for five minutes and then 400 until the loaves are done, they will brown quite a lot due to the sugars from the fig-water that is the reason for the lower temperature. After the bread is done leave it in the oven for 10 more minutes with the door open and the heating turned off.

holds99's picture

Dan Lepard has hit a home run with these English muffins.  They're what I imagine English muffins should be and, in my opinion, they're about as good as it gets.  Mr. Lepard posted a link to his recipe in The Guardian newspaper article, which I have inserted below the photo. 

I used an electric skillet to cook them.  No oil, just "dry-fry/bake".  Preheat the skillet, with the cover on to get it heated like a small oven, before placing the muffins into the skillet.  The lid goes on the skillet while they're cooking, which holds the heat nicely and allows them to steam a bit.  I followed his directions and they're very easy to make and, as I said, his recipe produces terrific muffins.  For those who like a nice sour bite, you'll really like these muffins.  The dough needs to be prepared the night before, as it has to stay in the regrigerator overnight. 

Mr. Lepard calls for 50 ml of cider vinegar in his recipe, which gives the muffins a nice crisp, slightly sour taste on the order of a sourdough.  For my taste the sourness was fine.  However, I think next time I will reduce the vinegar slightly to about 30 ml vinegar mixed with 20 ml water just to see the difference.   I took the liberty of adding/imbedding some conversion notes (without making any changes to the original recipe) i.e. ml to ounces and cm to inches, etc.  Hope it was alright to do that.  I [bracketed] my entries and italicized them so it would be clear as to what I added.  Mr. Lepard says they can be made either in rectangles or rounds.  I chose 4 inch rounds because that was the largest cutter I have.  Mr. Lepard calls for 12 cm diameters, which is close to 4 3/4 inches.  He make them large to compensate for shrinkage after cutting. As for the leftover dough, after cutting the rounds, I simply rolled it up, kneaded it a bit and rolled it out and made 2 more muffins, for a total of 9 muffins.   They're great toasted with the holes absorbing the butter and marmalade.

Dan Lepard's Cider Vinegar English Muffins

Dan Lepard's Cider Vinegar English Muffins

Cider vinegar muffins

What the Americans call an English muffin we used to call, well, a muffin. But since those little cakes in paper cases have invaded the supermarket shelves and stolen the name, our own little plain bread muffin has become neglected in Britain. In the US, bakers have raised the quality of their English muffins to something close to perfection. Crisp on the outside, sour and holey inside, and chewy when toasted and slathered with butter. Make these and you'll see what we've been missing all these years. In this recipe, the dough gets mixed and lightly kneaded the night before and is left in the refrigerator overnight to rise slowly. You can even leave it until the following evening if that works better for you.

Makes 8-10 muffins

50g unsalted butter

100ml warm water (by weight: approximately 4 oz. or 116 g.)

50ml cider vinegar [by weight: approximately 2 oz. Or 58g.]

100ml plain live yoghurt [slightly less than ½ cup]

1 large egg

1 level tsp salt

375g strong white flour

2 tsp easy-blend yeast [I used instant yeast and it worked fine]

Oil for the bowl

The night before, melt the butter in a saucepan [use stainless steel with the vinegar], then remove from the heat and beat in the warm water with the vinegar, yoghurt, egg and salt until smooth. Measure the flour and yeast into a bowl, tip [pour] in the butter and vinegar mixture and stir to a thick batter. Cover the bowl and leave for 10 minutes. Lightly oil the work surface and knead the dough gently for 10-15 seconds (see Basic techniques). Scrape the bowl clean of scraps of dough, wipe the inside with a little oil, place the dough back in the bowl, cover with a plate or cling film and place in the refrigerator overnight.

The following morning (or evening), lightly oil a dinner tray and upturn the dough on to it. Stretch and fold the dough in by thirds (see Basic techniques), then cover with a tea towel and leave to rest for 1-2 hours until it warms and begins to rise again. [It takes a full 2 hours at 75 deg. F.]

Line a dinner tray with a tea towel and dredge the surface liberally with flour. Gently roll out the dough [on a work surface] about 1½ cm [approximately 5/8 inch] thick, trying not to knock too much of the gas from it. Cut the dough into discs using a 12cm-diameter [approximately 4 ¾ inches] cutter (yes, that large, as they'll pull inwards as they bake), or take a sharp knife and cut the dough into 6 rectangles or something close to that. Carefully lay the cut dough on the floured cloth. Dust the tops with flour and cover with a tea towel. Leave for 1½-2 hours [they’ll take the full 2 hours at 75 deg. F.] or until doubled in height.

Get a large heavy-bottomed frying pan with a snug-fitting lid if possible. Place on a moderate heat until the surface is hot but not scorching.

Uncover the muffins and flip them one by one on to your hand with the cloth, then slide them into the pan. You should be able to fit 3 or 4 in at a time. Cover the pan with the lid to create a bit of steam to help them rise and cook for 2-3 minutes.  Then check to see that they're not burning. If the bottom is a good brown, flip them over using a spatula. Cook on the other side for about 3-4 minutes. [I used an electric skillet with a lid, set at 340 deg. F. cooking them in a dry pan for 6 minutes on side 1 and 4 minutes on side 2 until they reached an internal temperature of 190 deg. F.] When done, remove to a wire rack, drape a tea towel over to keep them soft, and continue with the remaining muffins. Freeze in a zip-lock bag as soon as they're cold.


Crispy bacon muffins

Add 250g smoked streaky bacon, cooked until crisp and chopped finely, in with the flour, then continue with the recipe above.





dmsnyder's picture

Anis Bouabsa baguettes with Sourdoug

Anis Bouabsa baguettes with Sourdough

Anis Bouabsa baguettes with Sourdough Crumb

Anis Bouabsa baguettes with Sourdough Crumb 

KAF French Style Flour........500 gms

Water..............................370 gms

Starter.............................100 gms

Salt..................................10 gms

Instant yeast.......................1/4 tsp


I activated my starter and let it ferment for only about 4 hours. It did double but was not at its peak. While the starter was noshing, I mixed the flour and water and let it autolyse for about 40 minutes. Then I added the starter, yeast and salt and mixed well in a bowl.

I used Pat's (proth5) method of mixing: In the bowl, stretch and fold using a plastic dough scraper 20 times, rotating the bowl 1/5 turn between each stroke. Repeat this every 20 minutes for an hour. At the end of that time, I had the best window pane I've every achieved. This is a great technique for somewhat slack doughs!

I then moved the dough to a 2 liter glass measuring pitcher with a tight fitting cover and refrigerated for 20 hours.

 The dough was then emptied onto a large wooden cutting board, well dusted with flour and divided into 3 sort of equal parts. It was less slack than my last batch and easier to shape. I gently preshaped into rounds and rested the pieces, covered with plastic wrap and a towel for 20 minutes. I then shaped into baguettes very, very gently so as to minimize bubble popping. The loaves were proofed for 1 hour on a parchment paper "couche."

 I had preheated the oven to 500F. I scored the baguettes. After loading the loaves onto my pizza stone and pouring hot water in a heated skillet, the oven was turned down to 460F on convection bake. After 10 minutes, I removed the skillet and turned the oven up to 480F, regular bake. I baked the baguettes for 25 minutes total. 


The loaves "sang" louder and longer than any I've baked. The crust was nice and crunchy. The crumb was the most open I've yet achieved in baguettes. I attribute this in large part to my shaping the baguettes more gently then ever before. I credit Janedo for the inspiration (as well as for the recipe).

I still need to work on scoring baguettes. *sigh*



DrPr's picture

I can't remember how I got into baking bread, but when I decided I wanted to do it, I knew I didn't want to use a machine- no machines at all, other than the oven. My hands would do all the dirty work.

The first thing I did was search the internet for breadbaking information (ok, so I did use a computer). There I learned about "real" breadbaking- the kind requiring a starter rather than yeast. A challenge! I was totally into that. Kind baking enthusiasts steered me towards books like The Bread Baker's Apprentice (which I love to this day) and I embarked upon my first adventure: making a starter.

I had so many questions! When is a starter ready? Is it supposed to look or smell like that? Should I start over? Once I was sure my starter was healthy and ready to use, I baked my first bread. I have no memory of what kind it was, but my first breads were all very amateurish. Some had little white spots, or problems with the holes or the crust from not kneading properly, not letting it rise correctly, or some error during baking.

But eventually I actually got good at it! I loved to fill the house (and the street outside) with the smells coming from my kitchen. I baked baguettes, Italian loaves, pumpernickel, rolls, pizza crusts, and breads I'd never heard of before. I loved learning new baking tips, like the right temperatures for dough-making and how to introduce moisture during baking at just the right time.

My favorite breads were ciabatta, asiago, and rosemary olive oil. Ciabatta is my favorite because the dough is so much fun to work with, and I enjoy the artistry and skill involved in getting a loaf just right, with the holes large enough and the crust just so.

Asiago and rosemary breads are great because they are wonderful-smelling and make the people I give them to very happy. I used to make a few loaves, package them with a personalized baker's bag (I found them in a restaurant supply store), and then ride my bike to deliver them to a friend, or drive to the next town over to give a fresh loaf to my parents. I gave away more than I ate, in fact, because I love to put smiles on faces.

I had fun buying bread-baking baskets with woven patterns in them because they produce breads with beautiful patterns and textures. Yes, I started to get fancy; I probably could have gone into business, but I didn't have commercial equipment. I tried to get a job at the lone artisanal bread-baking place in town but they weren't hiring. I think I offered to volunteer but by that time I was about to leave town.

I actually haven't baked since moving to start grad school. Between keeping a small apartment, studying and working full time, I don't find time to bake. But I keep meaning to. If I tried, I probably could listen to taped lectures while mixing and kneading. I could study while the dough is rising and read while a loaf is baking.

Hmmm... I think I might just go make a new starter!


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