The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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Floydm's picture

Today I made Crumb bum's miche (though I split it into two loaves).

I also made Saffron Rolls with currants.

hullaf's picture

I'm liking my multigrain breads especially if I can get my sourdough starter to work with them. This latest is one from Hamelman's 'Bread", the Five-grain levain recipe. I followed the recipe fairly exactly only making 2/3 of the recipe. I used my whole wheat starter and not any commercial yeast. For the soaker I used part Bob's Red Mill 7-grain cereal mix, flaxseeds, and sunflower seeds. I even did the retarding part of the recipe in the refrigerator overnight, approximately 13 hours and then a four-hour warm up/proof on the counter before baking. The refrigerator-retarding part hasn't always worked for me and I think some of that is my knowing how to get the starter at the right timing of activeness and making sure it is active. The oven rise was nice with steaming, the aroma wheat-y, and the taste mildly sourdough (though I should have waited until tomorrow to slice, I can never wait.)         Anet

five-grain levain  five-grain levain  

five-grain levain crumb  five-grain levain crumb  

sdionnemoore's picture

I finally scratched the itch and plunged into the happy world of breadmaking. Okay, pretzel making. Break making will have to wait while I work on stirring up my sour dough starter. But the pretzels. . .ah! I followed Alton Brown's recipe (link on main page) and substituted whole wheat flour for the all purpose, sea salt for kosher, aluminum foil for parchment and salted butter for unsalted. These changes were a result of our kitchen still not being fully functioning, so I've got very little in the way of conveniences (no sink, no DW, no cooktop) because most of my kitchen things are in storage.

I was pleased with the tenderness of the pretzels, though I wish I had done the egg wash a little more aggressively. I ate one hot, with mustard, it was great, though the salted butter will definitely ousted in the next batch in favor of the unsalted. I can't wait to try my hand at actual breads. . .soon. . .very soon.

hansjoakim's picture

I've seen Hamelman's five-grain rye sourdough bread recommended a couple of times, but it wasn't until this morning that I had the opportunity to bake it for myself. It's a modest 25% whole rye, but the loaf is also studded with seeds and cracked rye, and there's a lot of flavor in it.

Hamelman's Five grain rye sourdough

No easily obtainable "high-gluten flour" around these parts, so I used my regular flour, but made sure the dough was strong and well-developed before bulk fermentation. It looked delicious even at that stage: A nice brown ball, flecked with dark flaxseeds and cracked rye. The rye sour infuses each slice with great taste, and the soaker and the high hydration keeps the crumb ultra moist and tender.

Hamelman's Five grain rye sourdough

So, when breakfast's over, and you pour yourself a cup of black coffee, what better way to finish off your meal than with some Viennoserie? Last week I made a batch of croissant dough, using some prefermented dough and putting 20% whole wheat flour into the mix. Half of the dough was rolled around spinach and feta cheese filling, and the other half was brushed with pastry cream and sprinkled with raisins. Yum!

Whole wheat croissants

Floydm's picture

This has become a regular around here.  Pesto Pizza:

I use Peter Reinhart's pizza crust, Costco's pesto (which is actually quite good), frozen shrimp or chicken, and parmesan cheese.  The kids love it, we love it, and it is quick and easy, easy enough to do on a work night (or Valentine's, which is when this was from).

Rosalie's picture

I was inspired by a question by someone in another bread forum and my own recent discovery and love affair with baking pita.  In the other forum, the person had frozen shaped bread dough and then was having problems reviving it.  I wondered if she could make pitas with it.  While that question remains unanswered, I tried a related experiment.

I picked a nice basic bread recipe - in this case, an adaptation of Bernard Clayton's Rosemary-Garlic Bread on page 464 of my edition.  The recipe calls for about half whole wheat flour and half white flour, and I, of course, used all whole wheat.  I also, as usual, used considerably less than the 2 packets of yeast - possibly a teaspoon, but I don't remember. And I'm sure I stuck it in the refrigerator for a good part of its early life.  It's been a couple weeks.  But that's my modus operandi.

I divided the dough into twenty-four equal balls, which would make them smaller than might have been called for (for about six cups of flour for two standard loaves).  I then rolled the balls to 1/8 inch thickness, using those rubber bands I found online (Fanta, I think) for my rolling pin.  And I managed to freeze them by placing them in the freezer on non-stick cookie sheets for a couple hours and then stacking them and putting them in freezer bags.  (A smaller quantity would have made the logistics of this step a bit simpler.)

I now take them out two at a time and bake them in my Oster countertop convection oven.  Today I had my greatest success so far.  I placed the frozen pitas between two sheets of parchment paper on top of the oven with an inch or so of space between the oven and the pitas.  I then pre-heated the oven to 450 (its top temperature) with my little toaster-oven baking stone in the middle for about half an hour.  Then I placed one piece of parchment and the pitas on the stone.  In less than two minutes the pitas were big round balls.

Sorry, no pictures.  All gone.  Maybe next time.  I still have plenty more from this batch to experiment with.


Jw's picture

With a little help from qahtan (tip for walnut oil) and liam (tip for folding), I made wallnutbread this sundaymorning. Two versions: slowrise (from 3-4 days ago, 50% wheat from mill, whole groats wheatflour (?), 50% plain white flour) and an experiment: last night before midnight I mixed about half pain d'ancienne, mixed in the wallnuts and let it rise overnight.

The results: perfect for the pain d'ancienne. A bit sticky bread for the overnight version (btw with 100% wheatflour, no mix), much lighter taste. It was gone in one lunch anyway. The purple around the walnuts did not show up, maybe since I cracked he wallnuts on the evening before. Maybe it was my illusion that the walnuts don't spread so nice in the bread, I am sure I had that problem once before.

On the normal pain d'ancienne the scoring did not work out completely (but still good enough). The structure and taste is very good, almost 'criminal' as one tester put it. Next time I will not shape right away, but wait for half a hour (when out of the fridge). Then shape and score, so that it looks more like a boule.

Last but not least: ciabatta. A lot of work, but definitely worth the effort. This is pushing my oven to the limit (I used to stone). I am ready for a larger group of guests now... BTW the piece of cloth is a quilt 'in development' by Mrs. Jw.

Off topic: what else can you do but bake on rainy day like this...

Thaichef's picture

Good Morning:

I had been reading and leering on "The Fresh loaf" and "wildyeast" blogs for months.  So..after gathering up my nerve I made my first "sour dough breads for the first time yesterday.(two days bread making).  I used Susan's wildyeast recipe of "Norwich sourdough" and her other "over night ciabata".  Both are busted!  The Norwich sourdough was so hard and didn't rise at all. The ciabta has no air pocket to talk about.  I think that the 100%  hydration sourdough starter may not be working on the Norwich bread???. The ciabata is edible but nothing to crow about. 

I am starting a new sourdough starter today using "Floyd" method.  Wish me luck.

  There must be some trick to this mystery which I can't crack it yet.  But, if I can make the Pad Thai and curry with "both of my hands tie behind my back,(just kidding but you know what I mean), there must be "the magic time" when this thing finally work. Darn.  I was so...excited now I am down in the dump.  Mantana

Stephmo's picture

I love soft pretzels - who doesn't?  I just never seem to get them outside of fair settings.

And then the other week, Alton Brown did a show on homemade pretzels - it was a sign! So I went to the food network's site and I grabbed the recipe. (

The Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups warm (110 to 115 degrees F) water

1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 package active dry yeast
22 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 4 1/2 cups
2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
Vegetable oil, for pan
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
Pretzel salt (note, I simply used Kosher salt)

ALTON: Combine the water, sugar and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam.

So Alton's all into proofing the yeast - and I must say that I only do this because the instructions say so.  At some point I'll stop since I'm really only convinced this is a leftover from poor production methods of old - but look, it bubbles:

ALTON: Add the flour and butter and, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 4 to 5 minutes.

Now it's all about letting the KitchenAid do the work. I add the melted butter and the flour. You may notice Alton's recipe does specify flour by weight. I actually do have a scale where I can zero out my mixing bowl with ingredients, so I'm able to pour 22 ounces of flour exactly. From here, I let the mixer do it's thing for 5 minutes until the dough is nice and ready:

ALTON: Remove the dough from the bowl, clean the bowl and then oil it well with vegetable oil. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and sit in a warm place for approximately 50 to 55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.

Rising time. Recipe calls for an hour, but this is fast-acting - in 30 minutes, I'm more than doubled:

ALTON: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line 2 half-sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly brush with the vegetable oil. Set aside.

Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an 8-quart saucepan or roasting pan.

In the meantime, turn the dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope. Make a U-shape with the rope, holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and press onto the bottom of the U in order to form the shape of a pretzel. Place onto the parchment-lined half sheet pan.

Place the pretzels into the boiling water, 1 by 1, for 30 seconds. Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula. Return to the half sheet pan, brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture and sprinkle with the pretzel salt. Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.

I tear my into 8 pieces and lightly oil my counter so I can roll these into ropes and form them into pretzel shapes. I'll admit that it's not as supple as I'm expecting it to be, but that's okay. While I do this, I have water boiling on the stove and the oven preheating:

Hint from me to you - do put in the baking soda before the water is boiling - if you think you see white crusty stuff on the sides of the pot, you do. I added the baking soda while the water was boiling and got a mini-science experiment. Luckily no spillover, but I laughed. I basically boiled each pretzel for 30 seconds and scooped it out with a wire scoop (this gives the pretzel texture):

At this point, I give the pretzels an egg wash and bake them for 13 minutes. Look what I get:

If you're wondering - but is it a chewy, doughy piece of pretzel goodness? Well - take a look at this crumb:

Yes, this is good stuff - I will be making this again!


chahira daoud's picture
chahira daoud

Hello everybody and missing you all !

Phyl Divine named me on his group on Facebook "artisan bread bakers".He named me "Pharaoh of flat Bread ".

I really was very happy but wondering all the time , why ?? May be phyl knows that Egyptians can not eat without the presence of the flat bread on their meals tables .

So I decided to present something about our daily bread in Egypt , may be to try to prove to myself that I really deserve this great title !!!!

O.k I bought this pan shown in the picture, it is better than my oven cause flat breads really need a very high temp. and it is usually baked in special ovens " with three flames".

The pictures will show you this incredible invention for flat breads , let's go ....

First the bread before being baked,,,ah forgot to tell you that I used 100% wild yeast.

Also about the dough , i made two doughs one contained 50% bread flour +50% whole wheat flour, and that is the traditional ingredients for our egyptian bread.

The other dough "which i invented" contained bread flour +whole wheat flour+grounded oats"i grinded it at home"+barley flour and of course wild yeast and tepid water .

let's go ....


"as seen on T.V" HAHAHAHA!


The harvest !!



sandwiches for me and my husband, i filled it with pastrami and romi cheese.

I wish i had at this time some of our wonderfull home made falafel or foul"beans".

Falafel , I am missing it!!

And here I am....Do I really deserve to be the "pharoah of flat bread"?????


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