The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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MaryinHammondsport's picture

Our daughter was here for a visit this week, and together we pushed our boundaries with regard to baking.

First, we had home-made pizza using previously frozen dough from the boule recipe in AB in 5. This was new for her, but not for me.

We next mixed a new recipe of the same dough, so that she could shape a loaf, and see what a time saver it is. Another use of the same dough was pitas for lunch. A first for both of is, and easy to do. I’ll make those again.

She wanted to do bagels next, so she used Floyd’s recipe, to be found here. Excellent.

Lastly, we made a loaf in my new cast iron Dutch oven. I took a suggestion from holds99, and used the Rustic Bread recipe from KA.

This is the only one that I took a photo of; here’s how it looks. Great advice and good directions on how to get it into and out of the hot Dutch oven. Thanks!

Cast Iron Dutch Oven BouleCast Iron Dutch Oven Boule

All in all, a nice visit, and a lot of learning for both of us. She goes back to France (Alpes Maritimes) today, but I’ll keep experimenting with baking.


Thegreenbaker's picture

My old new love KAM, is cursed. Or so it seems.

He committed suicide 2 weeks ago, by walking himself off the kitchen bench whilst mixing dough.

I finally had him replaced and on the second use the height adjustment was somehoiw altered and just scraped the bowl so hard that the protective white covering of the dough hook scraped clean off.

The bowl seems alright. A few scratches, on the bottom, but seemed enough to mix up another batch of dough (as I threw out the now contaminated dough in the bowl) which the paddle attachment.

I think KAM is trying to leave me. :(


Perhaps the bread goddess/god of hearth and home does not want me making bread with a machine? Or perhaps I am just tooo bloody dopey to pay atention to whats going on.


What ever it is, I wont be making bread by mixer for quite a while again.





dmsnyder's picture

Janedo's Basic Bread

Janedo's Basic Bread

Janedo's Basic Bread Crumb

Janedo's Basic Bread Crumb

This is my third attempt at making the pain au levain that Jane calls her "basic bread." I think it's the best crust which is crunchier than my previous bakes. The crumb is less open than I got on my first attempt even though the dough was more slack. I think I actually over-mixed it.

Jane's recipe is posted here:

For this bake, I used a liquid levain fed with a high extraction flour mixed with 140 gms of white spelt flour and 400 gms of King Arthur Europian Artisan-style Flour.

I baked at 500F with steam for 7 minutes then 460F for a total of 30 minutes. I left the loaf in the turned off oven for an additional 7 minutes before cooling on a rack.

The taste is good with moderate sourness. It is very chewy. The crust is staying crunchy.

Bushturkey's picture

Sourdough baguettes - crumb

Sourdough baguettes - crumb

Sourdough (mini) baguettes

Sourdough (mini) baguettes

I made my own version of sourdough baguettes.

I made a liquid levain (125% hydration) from my white sourdough. I elaborated it into a poolish (100% hydration). The final dough had 70% white bread flour (but I increased the gluten to 14% with added gluten flour - I was worried, the 30 % rye might weaken my dough), 30% rye flour.

Because my preferment was around 24 hours old (but I'd given it two feedings at 12 hour intervals) by the time I mixed the final dough, I didn't know if the starch would've been depleted, so I added about 5g malt (to a total of 610g flour). I found some "light dry malt" at the brewing section of a local shop. The packet said "Malted Barley" as the ingredient. It didn't say it was roasted (it didn't say it was not roasted either), so I assumed it was diastatic malt.

I forgot to mention that I used the "french fold" method of mixing. Just a few seconds only! Then a few letter folds during bulk fermentation.


Any commentary from any bakers out there (on the way I went about making the baguettes)?

dmsnyder's picture

Baguettes "Monge"

Baguettes "Monge"


I got a (very) few actual crackles in the crust! A thrill!

Baguettes "Monge" Crust

Baguettes "Monge" Crust

Baguettes "Monge" Crumb

Baguettes "Monge" Crumb

Janedo posted a recipe for Eric Kayser's Baguettes "Monge." See for the recipe, photos and discussion.

I made these with some modifications last weekend, but I wanted to try the recipe sticking as close to Jane's instructions as possible. Last night, I fed my liquid starter with Golden Buffalo and, today, made these baguettes. My conversations with King Arthur Flour indicated that they intended their "French Style Flour" to be an approximation of French Style 65 flour, which Jane's recipe specified. I had a couple of pounds, so that is what I used.

When I mixed the dough, it seemed way too dry. I added about 20 ml more water. The dough was still dry, but I didn't want to deviate too far from the recipe, so I left it at that. The only other change I made was to bake at 500F for the first 7 minutes with steam, then removed my skillet and turned the oven down to 460F. Total bake time was 25 minutes.

I am much happier with my baguette slashing. I knew what to do in theory. This time the main change I made was to focus better. I think I got pretty nice bloom. The crust was the closest I've gotten to date to a classic crisp, crackly baguette crust. I think the higher oven temperature was necessary for this, at least in my oven. The crumb was actually better than my first effort, which was with higher hydration, but it was still not as open as I would have liked.

The taste is very nice. Nothing wrong with it. But it does not have as much sweetness or complexity as I would have liked. I'm not sure this recipe with its very short fermentation can deliver optimal baguette flavor. (Of course, I haven't tasted Jane's baguettes!).

The quest for a better baguette continues, but this is my personal best to date.


ejm's picture

I made the following for Bread Baking Day (BBD) #09: Bread With Oats

multigrain bread

In the past couple of weeks we were having problems with fuses blowing on our oven; it's fixed now and ever since the oven has been working beautifully. BUT. I think the oven is now hotter than it was. I know that I used to be able to be quite casual about checking the bread after the bell rang 30 minutes after putting it in the oven. I used to take it out at 35 minutes and it would still not be quite ready. Or perhaps it's the honey content in the dough that makes the crust get so dark. Perhaps I should bake this bread at 375F instead of 400F. As a result, this bread does look awfully dark. But inside, it is as wonderful as ever.

apricot roll
Bushturkey's picture

I followed Hamelman's five-grain levain recipe, but used 3 grains: Rye, Oats and a sprinkling of roasted wattle seed (Acacia baileyana) as a hot soaker.

The flour is 50% high-gluten flour, 25% bread flour and 25% whole wheat flour. Hydration was 98% (!), but almost all the water got soaked up by the seeds.

The dough called for a liquid levain, spiked with a little instant dry yeast 0.4%.

I baked in tins for 15 minutes, then I took the bread out and finished baking on the stone. The crust came out nice and blistered, thin and crispy. The bread is delicious!

Grain levain - I've seen the bread dough arisin'....

Grain levain - I've seen the bread dough arisin'....(apologies to and acknowledgement of John Fogerty)

Grain levain out of the oven --someone's left their grain levain out in the rain

Grain levain out of the oven --someone left their grain levain out in the rain. I don't think I can take it, 'cause it took so long to bake it......

Grain levain crumb - the first crust is the crispiest....

Grain levain crumb - the first crust is the crispiest....

My apologies for the corny song lyrics!

Bushturkey's picture

Olive levain - cooling out of the oven

Olive levain - cooling out of the oven



Olive levain no.2 - crumb

Olive levain no.2 - crumb

I'm much happier with the way this attempt came out. I left it to rise longer (I had more time). I left it to retard at room temperature over night (it got down to around 64 F). But the dough was very sluggish in rising.

I don't know if it's the acidity or the salt in the olives that slowed down the rise. The dough didn't taste all that salty, but the olives are vinegary, even after pressing them with kitchen tissue to mop up most of the fluid. I coaxed the dough a bit by putting a small bowl of just-boiled water next to the shaped loaves and covering with a big plastic tub.

The recipe called for 65% hydration, but I added less water this time ( it was way too slack the last time).

By contrast, today I also made a version of Hamelman's Five-grain levain (I used two grains - rye and oats. I didn't have the other grains. I made a starter yesterday. I forgot what I had in mind to make, so I flipped through the pages of Hamelman's book to get an idea).

The recipe calls for spiking the final dough with instant dry yeast - only 0.1 oz in 24 oz flour;  a tiny 0.4%- but the dough looked as though it was starting to swell instantly. I wasn't used to such a rapidly expanding dough. I didn't appreciate the difference between levain and commercial yeast.

May be it was also the nutrient-rich wholemeal flour. I've got it retarding in the fridge to bake tonight!

dstroy's picture

We're back from San Francisco!


I took some pictures at Boudin's Sourdough market when we were playing tourist at Fisherman's Wharf.



These guys had headphones and an outside speaker so they could banter with the general public while they shaped breads into funny characters.








MaryinHammondsport's picture

Lately I have been switching around through various bread cookbooks, especially Reinhart’s Whole Grain Bread Book and Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day, in addition to experimenting with my sourdough formula and trying recipes from TFL. I thought I would post photos from my bakes of three of the Reinhart whole grain recipes. All three are 100% whole grain.

I don’t want the above to sound as if I think I am some sort of expert. I’m far from that. I have baked quite a bit, but it’s almost always loaf-pan sandwich breads, because that’s what’s needed in this household. Up until recently I have always followed standard procedure learned 50+ years ago -- scald the milk or heat the water, activate the yeast, etc., etc., etc. In other words, until encountering Reinhart and Artisan in 5, I baked bread the “old fashioned American way.” Nothing wrong with that, either!

I had never considered whole wheat baking to be particularly difficult, probably because I was too innocent to know better. I just went ahead and substituted whole grains in a recipe, or followed a recipe that included them. I didn’t expect that a 100% whole grain recipe would rise as much as a white bread loaf, but I always get a good enough rise to suit me. Then I began reading about how difficult some folks consider whole grain baking. Being innocent apparently helps!

So -- here are photos of my efforts with three of Peter Reinhart’s recipes from his Whole Grain Bread Book. All three recipes are found in his book so I won’t post them here. All three are a little “squatty” because they were the first time for each recipe and I hadn’t scaled them up to fit larger pans. I like to bake a recipe first “by the book”, then play later on.

The first is his Master Recipe. I used water as the liquid in both soaker and biga, and mostly KA White Whole Wheat Flour. I did substitute 1 cup of Hodgson Mills Graham Flour for 1 cup of the KA, which explains the somewhat freckled appearance. It’s a very tender bread, and I think it rose well, though the pan used could have held more dough. I will note that both soaker and biga were impossible to cut into chunks, as Reinhart directs; they were way too wet. I just had to blend them with my hands, before using the machine. Didn’t seem to hurt anything.

The Master Recipe from Whole Grain Bread BookThe Master Recipe from Whole Grain Bread Book

Second is the Whole Wheat Cinnamon Raisin. Again KA White Whole Wheat, but no graham flour. Note that the raisins made the loaf darker, because I added them while kneading in the mixer. I threw the walnuts in at the last minute.

Cinnamon Raisin BreadCinnamon Raisin Bread

Lastly, my most recent experiment, Straun. This didn’t rise as high, and I suspect that this was due to the cooked grains. It’s delicious -- very moist without being soggy, delicate, and sweet without being “sugary.” It really was an experiment this time. Instead of assembling a whole bunch of different grains, I used Grande Pilaf from Bob’s Red Mill for all the grains. This is a pilaf we like to eat as a “starch”, and contains several different grains, seeds, etc, (red wheat, brown rice, oats, rye, triticale, barley, buckwheat, and sesame seeds) so I thought it would be appropriate for Straun. I just cooked up a pot of it, measured out the 6 ounces called for in the Reinhart recipe, then we had the rest for dinner. It worked fine. This time I used KA Traditional WW flour, not White WW.

My version of StraunMy version of Straun

I really like the KA White WW, especially in combination with a cup or so of the Graham Flour. This is probably my new go-to combination for most breads. I have a tendency to be able to taste a bit of bitterness in regular WW flour that I don’t taste in the White WW. I think this is one of those tasting differences that we all have. I’d like to encourage folks who have had trouble with this flour or whole wheat in general to give it another try -- if I can do it, so can you, because I don’t do anything special at all.


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