The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Baking FAQ

Baking FAQ

See these ingredient specific FAQs:


How do I make crusty bread?

One word: steam. Lots of steam in the first five minutes of baking. But be aware that many home ovens are not designed to handle the kind of steam required to make really crusty bread, so try it at your own peril.

What is the best way to store a loaf of bread?

Crusty bread: paper. Soft breads: air tight plastic. It is that simple. Either type of bread can be wrapped in plastic and frozen, though I don't find crusty breads ever to completely recover.



Christina's picture

I have a question: When I make a free-form bread, I am always afraid that when I have a slightly moister loaf, the dough will spread and not have the correct shape. By slack, what consistency would I look for? I made the baguettes from the "Artisan Baking" book for New Year's Eve, and even though I added more flour than it asked for (thus creating a slightly firmer dough) the holes were wonderful and the texture was amazing. I also made the English muffins from "The Bread Book" twice, one with a soft dough (what the recipe called for) which spread, and one a bit firmer, which didn't. Even though I have been baking bread for a while now, I am still wary about the soft doughs. What do you do?

Floydm's picture

At the moment I am a huge believer in "the wetter, the better." Wet doughs and folding have resulted in huge improvements in the quality of my breads.

(I am actually in the middle of writing a piece preaching the merits of slack doughs, so check back in a day or two. For the moment I'd direct you here for a good bit on it.)

I say some day when you are baking a batch of bread make another batch and leave it much wetter than you think you should. Use a lot of flour on your hands and your work surface and give it a shot. I bet you'll be pleasantly suprised with the results.

I've yet to make a standard French Bread dough that was so wet I couldn't bake it. The two or three batches of overly wet dough I've made have been either contained potato, which actually releases moisture as it ferments, or been sourdoughs, which I still don't have a handle on.

jimhaas3's picture

Does all the hydration result in an overly sticky dough? How do you manage that? I've been trying to make Pan au levain using the autolyse technique and so far I've been ending up with incredibly sticky doughs.

Any comment? 

Jim Haas, Kyiv Ukraine

Christina's picture

That sounds good, I'll try that next time. But what do you do to keep the dough from spreading too much?

Floydm's picture

Folding, as they mention in the link above (and as I will mention in my next article) tightens the loaf up a great deal. 90% of the time two or three folds are enough to tighten a dough up sufficiently that it'll hold its shape.

If it isn't there are a few options: one is to let the dough rise in a brotform, as seen here. I fake a brotform by using a couple of small, round baskets I picked up at Goodwill for a buck each. Flour them well before placing the dough in them though or it'll stick.

Another trick is to use tea towels or something to hold the loaf in place while it is rising. I did that this weekend: I put a sheet of parchment on a baking sheet and sprinkled some semolina flour on top. I then rolled up three tea towels and placed one down each side and one down the middle. I sprinkled some flour on them and then placed my two log shaped loaves in the channels between them. I put the entire thing inside a plastic bag for the final rise and then removed the towels and slid the parchment onto my peel to transer them to the oven, baking them on top of the parchment on a baking stone. The towels forced the loaves to rise up instead of spreading out. The resulting loaf was very nice.

brian camp's picture
brian camp

Hi Floydm,  I have been disappointed with my freeforms and the spread.  Yesterday I thought I had a wonderful braided Greek East bread done only to have my final rise to have spread so much you could hardly notice any  btw, I try to have a scotch tape sticky texture to my dough, not too dry and not too wet.  thanks in advance.  Brian

Old Mumsy's picture
Old Mumsy

I do the same thing, except I slide the tea towels under the parchment between each loaf, then I push them together a little.  I put that in the fridge overnight and when it comes time to bake them, I take out the tea towels and straighten the parchment paper back out to separate them.  I actually bake mine right on the same giant baking sheet only because I don't have a large enough stone yet.  Someday, I'll invest in a couche, but for now this works fine.

timtune's picture

I find that what really helps for the bloom and shape too is to develop a good surface tension when shaping french bread dough. ;)

Floydm's picture

Agreed. But one of the bests ways I've found to achieve good surface tension with really slack doughs is by folding. Each time I fold though surface tension gets a little bit greater. For final shaping I just need to repeat and preserve that.

brian camp's picture
brian camp

I will try the folding as you suggest.  But in the case of doing a braided bread.  Do I fold the dough then cut into pieces, roll into long strands, braid, let rise then bake?

If I use rolled tea towels under parchment paper for the final rise, when I remove them for baking won't that cause the bread to fall?

thanks for your help, just another newbie :)  brian

melnikne's picture


jmcbride's picture

I have been very impressed with the difference folding makes. It is a technique I read about here and found it can make a huge difference on the final bread. It is amazing how the slow and gentle method for developing the gluten helps the shaped loaf keep its shape. I tried a sourdough last weekend, and forgot that as the dough ferments it often seems to loosen up, thus causing flat loaves. However, with a slightly extend fermentation and an extra fold or two I had no problem with the loaves holding the shape.

If I feel the dough might be a little too "runny" I will also use the tea-towel trick


mzublin's picture

Can you please help me to create those wonderful holes in your bread?  I tried your online technique but didn't work (5 times).

This is what I think is happening:

1.  Mix your dough and let it rise.

2.  When it 2x the size fold it like a letter on all sides.

3.  When it 2x the size again fold it once again.

4.  Let it rise to 2x the size and shape?

Any directions would be very helpful.....


kaseylj's picture

I find that a longer rise makes bigger holes.  Not sure how long the doubling takes, but try leaving it out for several hours  (ex. 4 or 5) even if it's already risen 2x.   Also when you shape it, try and be as gentle as you can, and then let it rise again after shaping (an hour or two). before going right into the oven.   I think you should have lots of big holes then. 



andre lepage's picture
andre lepage

with a bread machine,I have been making spelt bread. this is the fourth one and did not succeeded very well. have been using the receipe; one cup of water,should it be luke or cold water, and honey ,3 cup of spelt etc. the bread did not rise to one  lb. it rises only half. when cutting the bread it falls apart. so don,t know what to do. spelt bread is the only flour that fits me. thank you very much with your answers and have a blessed day.          andre.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I'm not too familiar with bread machines, Here is a discussion that might be of interest:

hedera helix's picture
hedera helix

I'm not massively experienced with this, but have tried spelt in a few different formats, including bread and pasta, and I have to say, it has always been a bit of a let down. Bread, as disappointing as yours by the sound of it, pasta spongy and lacking substance.

Don't forget that Spelt is the ancestral wheat so it is basically what you would have used before 1000's of years of intensive selection and breeding created the high gluten, better performing grains we get now. If you have to use spelt, you might just have to accept a lower quality of bread. No matter what the refinements in the production process you use, if the basic ingredient just isn't up to the job, then it will never be great.

That said, I may have just messed up my spelt experminents, and it could bequite possible to get a good loaf form it. It jsut didn't work that way for me and I assumed it was to do with the type of grain used.

bakerb's picture

Hello...I'm looking for the name of a baked product my mom baked years ago...I remember it required rolling cold sweet yeast dough into a rectangle, spreading butter on it, folding it up, then repeating several times...this made the rolls or what-ever very flaky & rich...she eventually made a snail-looking thing and I think she put some kind of pineapple preserve in the center, or perhaps cream cheese, then baked after rising...seeing a pic of the Cream Cheese Snails, reminded me of this product...does anyone have a clue or recipe?

Thanks, Beth

KipperCat's picture

This sounds like puff pastry, which has another name which I can't remember right now.  I think it's also how croissants are made.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

KipperCat is right. There is all kinds of info if you search under "croissants" in here.

Also known to me in German as: Klassische Blätterteige, Falscher Blätterteig, Blitzblätterteig, Hefeblätterteig, Plunderblätterteig, or Quarkblättereteig depending upon the ingredients and amount of butter.

I have recipes where flour is combined with the butter (50g flour to 120g Butter or 100g flour to 250g Butter (for use with 500g bread dough) and shaped into a brick before being covered with yeast dough and rolled out, chilled and repeated.

The dough can be cut also into stripes and wraped around metal forms & funnels, and stacked to be baked and filled with creme de whatever good and rich, tasty, messy and fun. Chocolate drizzle and/or powdered sugar dusted, popular toppings both.



gutschke's picture

I had always been intimidated by croissants, but felt annoyed by the poor quality of most of the store-bought products. So, I finally decided to take the plunge. I found a good recipe that I have now made a couple of times. It is amazingly fool-proof and results in the best croissants I have ever had. You are in for quite a treat.

I have since cleaned up the instructions a little bit and converted them to metric weights, which makes them more reproducible than volume measurements.

It's still a good amount of work, but not really any more than making a nice loaf of bread. In fact, I can make croissants at the same time that I can make bread. The various waiting times nicely interleave.

Note: When the recipe calls for European-style butter, it isn't kidding. European-style butter is much softer when chilled than American-style butter. That makes working with it so much easier. I don't think I would attempt this recipe with American-style butter. My local grocery store carries Kerry Gold, which works fine; but other European brands should be OK, too. If possible, try to buy unsalted butter.

bakerb's picture

Thanks for your help...I'll research these ideas!   Beth

Arlette's picture

Hello my friends,We are going away this weekend, I am cooking and baking bread, and I am interested to know how long the bread keeps the fresh flavour and the top crust stays crunchy if it’s baked couple of days in advance.Since I am cooking and baking, I thought to start with the bread first, I always bake and eat the bread fresh, if I have extra I freeze them. I don't want to waste my work and end up with stale bread  Appreciate a reply soon,   Thanks for the great work every one!!! Arlette   


Naz's picture

what exactly is bread flour?

fancypantalons's picture

On way wheat flours are divided is based on protein content.  Higher protein means more gluten, more gluten means a stronger dough.  In ascending order based on protein content, you'll typically find these kinds of flours in a supermarket:

1. Cake flour

2. Pastry flour (yes, this is different from cake flour, and no, it's not always that easy to find)

3. All purpose

4. Bread flour

So bread flour has the highest protein content, so that you can develop good structure in the final dough.  Such a flour is often referred to as a "strong" or "hard" flour.

gutschke's picture

Please note that there are no "official" guidelines on how to classify flours. Every manufacturer does their own thing.

Every so often, you will find recipes that ask for "King Arthur All Purpose" flour. This flour is a little unusual in so far as it has a very high protein content for a flour that is otherwise marketed as all-purpose. Other manufacturers would probably have labeled it as a bread flour. It also is quite readily available in many super markets, and the manufacturer has a convenient web store where you can buy in bulk.

All this means is that recipes can be more reproducible by pointing you at a well-known and easily available product with a known high protein content.

In general, KAF makes for a good bread flour. But this by no means implies that you couldn't substitute flours from other manufacturers; you might just have to experiment a little more and/or adjust your recipe a little bit.

mickeylee102's picture

 I just found this site and love it. I am new to all and very interested in baking artesian breads so am trying to learn all I can. I notice your recipes are in grams instead of ounces, why??  How do I convert??? 



Rosalie's picture

One ounce is 28.35 grams.  So to go from ounces to grams, you would multiply the ounces figure by 28.35.  To go from grams to ounces, divide grams by 28.35.

One cute trick is to go to and enter (let's say you want to convert 6 ounces to grams) "6 ounces to grams" (omit the quotation marks), and Google does the conversion for you.  Try it with other units.


gutschke's picture

Unlike cooking, baking often requires reasonably strict adherence to the correct quantities. To make matters worse, you often won't notice mistakes until it is too late to fix them.

Traditionally, American recipes use volume measurements (e.g. fractions or multiples of a cup or a table spoon). This doesn't work well for bread recipes, as quantities can vary dramatically depending on how densely the ingredients are packed. So, most bread recipes use weight measurements insteads. This is also the way how European recipes have always worked.

Furthermore, bread makers often need to scale their recipes up or down a little bit. This allows for making slightly larger or smaller loafs depending on what you want to do. With ounces and pounds, this math can get awkward and mistakes will often go undetected until the bread fails to bake properly a couple of hours later.

Metric units are really simple and allow for basic decimal computations. They also allow for quantities to be specified as "bakers percentages" (look it up; it's a really neat system). And it allows you to quickly estimate the hydration percentage of your dough. This makes it much easier to memorize recipes, and to sanity check what you are doing.

It takes a little bit to get used to metric units. I'd recommend you buy an electronic kitchen scale that can easily switch back and forth between ounces and grams. These scales typically cost on the order of $20. It can make the transition very easy, and I bet within a few weeks you'll prefer metric weight measurements over traditional volume measurements.

mickeylee102's picture

Thanks, I need to know how many ounces I need and it's quite a pain even goggling it, Thank you for your help though.

mickeylee102's picture

I have a water softener, can I use my water??

cici's picture

I am after recipes or advice on creating recipes for bread that don't  use wheat, bran, rice, chick peas, fava beans, almonds, pistachio, durum wheat/semolina, couscous, bulgar, barley, wheatgerm, soy bean/unfermented soy, mushroom/fungus or yeast. This I believe rules out sourdough as the starter, as it is an adaptation of yeast. Sugar has to be minimised but not honey and therefore, malt is an issue. Items that can be used include Egyptian flour [although I've had mixed feedback about this] , spelt, quinoa, amaranth, potato - sweet and usual, bean flour, oats, corn, xantham and guar gum, baking soda, yoghurt, buckwheat, chestnut, arrowroot, tapioca, flax seed, millet, pumpkin, singoda, mesquite, raagi/ragi flour, lentils, teff flour, taro, rye. I've tried a few variations and either have an rather unpleasant aftertaste [possibly the polenta addition] and don't rise well. Appreciate suggestions or any tried recipes. Thanks

ejm's picture

Excuse me for replying to this older thread. I am searching for something else and the title caught my eye.

We freeze crusty bread all the time. I usually make two loaves at a time. There are only two of us so we can only eat one of the loaves. We double plastic bag the other loaf (removing as much air from the bag as possible - without distorting the loaf). This is done after the bread has cooled completely. Then into the freezer it goes.

Floydm wrote:

Either type of bread can be wrapped in plastic and frozen, though I don't find crusty breads ever to completely recover.

We have not found this to be the case.

To refurbish unsliced crusty bread that has been frozen, thaw the bread on the counter in its freezing bag. Once it has thawed, remove it from the bag. Preheat the oven to 500F. Turn the oven OFF. Put the bread on the middle rack of the hot oven for about ten minutes.

Using that method, the crust and crumb are virtually the same as they were when the bread came out of the oven on the day it was initially baked.


fancypantalons's picture

Agreed.  In fact, if I'm impatient, I'll follow Reinhart's instructions in the BBA and place the loaf in the oven at 400F, covered by a damp towel, for ~15 minutes (re-wetting the towel to ensure it doesn't score) to defrost, then another 10 minutes uncovered to crisp up the crust.  The result is as good (or, at least, good enough to be essentially indistinguishable) as if it came straight out of the oven, at least in my experience.

Carl Johnson's picture
Carl Johnson

Hello....I am looking for a good recipe for a motherdough and would appreciate it very much if someone would be nice and post one or e-mail me a motherdough recipe...please,please!!  My e-mail is

sybram's picture

Hello.  Have any of you used a regular floor tile for your baking stone.  I read you could use an unglazed one.  I have some 14 X 14 tiles left from when we built our house, but they do have a glaze on them.  Any suggustions or advice? 

Thanks, Syb

Paddyscake's picture

Hi do not used glazed tiles, unglazed only or purchase a baking stone.


Muffin Man's picture
Muffin Man

I am trying to build a sourdough starter ala Peter Reinhart, but am unable to find diastatic malt.  My local homebrew store has malt powder, but it does not have the active enzymes needed.  A local health food store cannot get it as it has a very short shelf life.  Can anyone recommend a source for this ingredient?

jlborsh's picture

King Arthur Flour has it in their online catalog.

Allanc's picture

Lately my 'bread rise' flops the moment I put the bread into the oven - the rise has become too sensitive. The recipe is a basic white bread with an egg and milk and has worked well during our winter months. What am I doing wrong?

pmccool's picture

but since you say it worked well in the winter months, I'd guess that you are watching the clock instead of the dough.  For instance, if a 1-hour final proof worked well in the winter (read: "cooler") months, but that same 1-hour final proof is causing problems in the summer (read: "warmer") months, chances are pretty good that the yeast is growing faster now and inflating the dough more in the same time period.  End result: over-proofed dough that collapses in the oven.

You have a couple of options. 

The simplest is to apply the bakers' dictum: watch the dough, not the clock.  When the dough is ready, it's ready and should be put into the oven then.  The dough can't tell time and the clock can't tell you when the dough is ready, so gauge the dough's readiness by looking at it and feeling it.

The other, more complicated method would be to jigger the yeast quantities so that you use less on warmer days and more on colder days.  That's too much guess-work for me to be comfortable with, so I wouldn't recommend it.

I hope you have better results with your next bake.


Allanc's picture

Thank you and well guessed Paul. I've incorrectly assumed that dough rises to it's maximum and the bigger the better. I'll attempt to learn to recognise the optimum dough rediness state. 

teegr's picture

Hi, I have ordered diastolic malt from King Arthur Flour for several years.  I beleive they have liguid as well as dry.  I am unaware of the short shelve life (of the malt) stated in your post... and haven't noticed an issue with the dry form as 1 order can't be used in a year with my personal usage.  Frankly, I rarely use it anymore .  My foolproof everyday bread is simple 1/4 tsp yeast to 3 C flour, water and salt, a wood spoon and a emile henry bowl then 18-24 hrs of fermentation...and while not tangy as doesn't require babysitting.  LOL!  IF ya get called away and can't bake...well you can always use the very wet dough the next day.

diamonds088's picture

Good morning all,

I am very new at this page and have not passed the stage of eating instead of making My question is this, I want to usea starter to have a bread with great flavor but have no clue as of how much to use for a given recipe. Help.

Part 2, some starters are done with water, some suggest pure pineapple juice and I thought of wine or whiskey, since they contain sugars and alcool. Wondering if that would work ???

Told you I was new, so laugh if you want but let me know anyways,



ejm's picture

You can convert any bread recipe into one with a starter in this way:

  1. The evening before you will be making the bread: mix half of the flour in the recipe with three quarters of the water and half the yeast. Stir it together, cover and leave on the counter overnight (or in the fridge if you have a particularly warm kitchen)
  2. The next morning, add the rest of the ingredients to the above mixture and proceed with the recipe as directed.

As for the second part of your question, my guess is that using wine or whiskey would not work. In my relatively short flirtation with capturing wild yeast, when the natural starter split (forming alcohol), it was no good for bread making. ie: the bread did not rise. However, you do NOT need to use pineapple juice to capture wild yeast. You can use just flour and water. Over time, this produces natural yeast.

For help on capturing yeast, take a look at Susan's (Wild Yeast) excellent post


gutschke's picture

I think the original poster might be confused between a sourdough starter and a biga or poolish.

Making a sourdough starter from scratch requires a couple of days or even weeks of work. And that's where you might consider using pineapple juice to reduce the chances of failure. If you are just starting to experiment with bread making, I would recommend against making sourdough starter from scratch. It's just too frustrating if it fails and you get stuck this early in the process.

Instead buy some ready-made starter from a place like King Arthur Flour or from any other reputable vendor that offers fresh starter (not the dried variety). Instant gratification is much more likely this way.

Of course, if you prefer a biga or a poolish, then ejm's instructions work fine. That's an easy way to modify an existing recipe. (And yes, there are technically differences between these two types of pre-ferments, but you'll get there when you have practised making more breads)

Gourmand2go's picture

Hi mickylee102

I live in an extremely hard water area and use Britta filters to remove the softener salts before I use the water to cook or to make coffee or tea.  For my kettle or coffee maker, I use water that has been softened and then put through two Britta filters.

For cooking, I use soft water that has been filtered once through a Britta.  I wouldn't want to risk a batch of bread with soft water, but the soft water is easier on the filter than hard water.  I'd imagine you will get more consistent results from the yeast with filtered water.

Overdue, but hope that helps!


Maple Ann's picture
Maple Ann

I'm having problem with the beery/yeasty taste in the bread that I made. As a result, my children are turning away from those breads.

I live in a warm country (Singapore) and the recipe I use calls for 1/4 oz packet instant yeast to 3 1/4 cups of flour. Is this too much an amount of yeast to use in my climate? Or is this caused by the yeast that I use (S.I.Lesaffre)? WOuld fresh yeast solve this problem? 

I proof the dough approx. 1 hr for 1st rise and 45min for 2nd rise. The dough rises up to 2 1/2 times of the original size on the 1st proofing. Have I proofed the dough for too long?

ejm's picture

Rather than proofing for a specific amount of time, proof it until it doubles in volume.

Bread dough will proof much more quickly in a warm spot (I'm guessing that it's quite warm in your Singapore kitchen). You might experiment with using less yeast and/or less sugar.  (Don't know how much yeast is in a 1/4 package....) For a standard loaf of bread calling for 3 1/2 cups of flour, I'd be inclined to use about a teaspoon of active dry yeast - or even less yeast if there is zero sugar in the recipe.

A good way to tell if dough has doubled is to dip your finger in water and then poke a hole in the top of the dough. If the hole fills up, it hasn't risen enough. If there is a whoosh of air and the dough deflates a little, it has risen too much. If the hole stays in exactly the same configuration and the dough remains otherwise intact, it is ju-u-st right.

To test if a shaped loaf has doubled, flour your finger and press gently on the edge of the dough - it should very slowly spring back. For comparison, try pressing early on to see how it quickly springs back when the dough has not risen enough.

Hope that helps.


jloria's picture

I read that  you can gather your own yeast at home... has anyone done this and is it even worth my time? Also since I am new to the site if anyone has tips for making my first starter please pass them along.

LindyD's picture

True, there are wild yeasts floating in the air everywhere, but most of the ones you want are already present in the flour.  Water and flour ferment naturally, and that's how you build a sourdough culture.

Here's the best tip you'll find on building a culture.

Welcome, BTW, to TFL.

pantiedog's picture

Because I am a wine maker, I have access to all sorts of specialized dry yeasts which I use to add subtle characteristics to wines I make. I am new to this site, but once I perfect the brotchen recipe so they are as close to German ones as you can get (my original reason for finding the site) I am going to start a series of experiments with these wine yeasts. Yes, I'll post and let you know, but has anyone tried that before (no sense reinventing the wheel) .

GrandmaBakes's picture

My first post :-)  I have a bread machine and everything seems to be going along well at first - the bread rises and looks beautiful.  Then, just before baking it sinks in the middle.  The texture of the bread is fine, nice and dense, but the middle is like a big "U" - any thoughts?  Thanks

Bohemian Mama's picture
Bohemian Mama

I found when I changed bread machines I followed the manufactuers  directions and  did not work.  So I went to my preffered   recipe and then it worked. I went by the  recommendations by the flour  manufacturer. In australia  I used Luake

So for  330 mls water  approx 4 cups flour

DianaP's picture

my fresh cake of yeast doesn't expire for 11 more days but I just purchased it at the store and it had brownist or grey spots on the outside of the yeast.  Not to waste all my ingredients I just scraped it off and used it to do my baking.  Is this

dangerous to eat.  I just baked them and they look good but I'm afraid to use it


roseannepaul's picture

Dear Sir/Madam:

Usually I put yeast and baking powerder into the flour(multiple purpose),  sugar, coconut oil , milk (sometimes eggs), together, mix them.

then wait for the mixture starting until it becomes very large.

After I bake it, when it is fresh and hot, it is really very puff and soft.

But after it is cold, it is hard and not puff at all.

I saw in the supermarket, there are many soft and puff bread, even they are cold.

I asked supermarket's bakers, they said they got dough from other resouce, they just use these dough to make .

DO you know :

1. where could I buy this kind of dough?


2. How to make puff and soft sweat bread even when it is cold?



cryobear's picture

I was at a friends house and they asked me to bake bread.  I mixed my normal batch except they didn't have any sugar in the house.  Instead of 2TBS sugar, I used 2TBS molasses.  The bread came out looking just as expected and did have a great taste.  However when we went to slice it, it was so soft and almost cake like.  Can any one come up with an answer why?  I've never had this happen before.


malkouri's picture

First post ever, and regarding a relatively simple ingredient; whole rolled oats. A recipe book I have recommends adding them in small amounts for an interesting flavour and texture, so I thought I would give it a try tomorrow.

But what do they mean by small amount? A quarter of a cup? Total flour is 420g whole wheat flour. And how much extra water would I need to add? Im using 375mL at the moment.


Any help appreciated (:

ejm's picture

I'd be inclined to replace some of the flour with rolled oats and leave the water the same.


P.S. Floyd's Cinnamon Raisin Oatmeal Bread is really good....

OMBRA's picture

I want to make 100% Whole Wheat Bread but my recipe calls for Vital Wheat Gluten which I do not have and I can not get some....

my question is

Can I use raw seitan''FRESH ONE THAT I MAKE AT HOME BY WASHING A NORMAL DOUGH''  instead of Vital Wheat Gluten?if the answer is yes how much should I use?if the answer is any one have a good 100% whole wheat bread that is good for sandwich?

Mebake's picture

Hi, Ombra. I have successfuly used seitan (obtained by washing and draining a dough) in wholewheat based recipes, it works just fine. Only, make sure to cut the seitan to small pieces and distribute them evenly throughout your dough and knead them properly in, otherwise you'll have unblended strandes of gluten.

However, you could do just fine without added gluten, if you good wholemeal bread flour with protein level 11.5% or greater. Try to incorporate a preferment, and a soaker. Search  in this website for the epoxy method dicussed in depth by famous Master Baker Peter Reinhart in His book " Whole grain breads.


OMBRA's picture

My recipe calls a 1/4 cup of Vital Wheat much seitan should I use insted!!



Mebake's picture

I have no clue OMBRA..use only sparingly, as excessive gluten can make your bread rubbery. I'd use a maximum of about 50 grams of seitan for an 850 grams dough. Try 35grams for a starters, and work your way up in future bakes. Remember though, your have to mix really well to get seitan to incorporate well.

Brian_T's picture

Lately I've been trying to mak some whole wheat bread, (75% bread flour and 25% whole wheat. )  I make four loaves at a time.

12 cups of flour...and I've been adding 5 cups of water.  To make a long story short...the crust of the bread seems to pull apart after it is baked...Most of my other loaves have a nice smooth or textured crust, but nothing that pulls away from the body of the bread. Solutions or suggestions?

Does whole wheat bread take extra water?  How many tablespoons of yeast should I use for the 4 loaves wholewheat bread? How many for regualr white bread?

Been a fan of the site for over a first post.

Thanks....Brian in Albuquerque


ejm's picture

When you say that the crust pulls away from the loaf, are you saying that there is a big hole just below the crust? (as in the photo in this post: "Big Air Pocket Problem, Ideas?") If so, that indicates over-rising - the hole is sometimes called the Lazy Baker's Bedroom. However, if there is no hole below the crust, and the crust is just not attached to the crumb, make sure that the loaf is covered and well out of any drafts as it is rising.

It would help to know a little more about the recipe you are using and if you are hand-kneading, mixer-kneading or bread machining. The crust pulling away could also come from not mixing the dough enough, adding too much flour, not kneading enough, adding too much flour when kneading/shaping, under-rising, oven too hot... that's the tricky thing about diagnosing the problems....

Not knowing exactly what else you're putting in your bread, with this amount of flour, I'd try about 8gm (2+1/2 tsp) active dry yeast  - for a yeast percentage of 0.5%.  If there is sugar in the bread, you might want to up the amount of yeast.

In her handy post about bakers percentage, Susan (Wild Yeast) wrote the following:

The percentage of yeast in a formula depends on quite a few variables (other ingredients, fermentation time, etc.), so the following ranges are quite wide, and are just guidelines.  [...]

  • Fresh yeast: 0.7% – 5%
  • Active dry yeast: 0.3% – 2.5%
  • Instant yeast: 0.2% – 2%


Hope that helps!



Sexymama35's picture

I'm a baker in northern Wisconsin and I make various types of bread. All summer my loaves were beautiful! Within the last two weeks my Wild rice and onion and my beer cheese and herb loaves isn't rising the way they should. What can I do to make them rise like they were????

Floydm's picture

Maybe your yeast is at the end of its life?  Or has anything else significant changed?  The weather is starting to turn, so perhaps you just need to give them more time since they will rise slower at a cooler temperature.

Good luck!


BILL B's picture

I am new to this site and also to bread baking. I have been trying to make a loaf of bread that is as soft as the store bought kind. The bread that I make is very good when it comes out of the oven, but when it cools it is dry and the next day hard and heavy.  At this point it is only good for toast. Is my dough possibly too dry.

Please help me if you can, I am getting discouraged and thinking about giving up.


Rosalie's picture

I'm not going to be much help to you.  I just wonder why you're trying to emulate storebought bread.  The texture of your homemade bread is and should be different because it's better than storebought.


annwig's picture

Hi - this is my first post as I am new to this site.  Recently when I baked my bread, which is an egg type(challah), the loaves split (along the side of the pan) when they baked.  I am using glass pans at 350 degrees.  Could the temp be the problem?

Mexrick's picture

I made a Coinnamon-Raisin bread yesterday. I usually mix and knead my bread in an ABM, punch it down and knead it a bit more on a floured board. I then let it rest for 10 minutes or so then shape it into a loaf and bake it in the oven.  My loaf came out quite blotchy and I suspect it is due to the raw flour on the board that got onto the dough as I was shaping it into a loaf.

I remember reading recently of an alternate process to kneadng on a floured board but can't remember where I read it.

Any help?


1day's picture

Whenever a recipe indicates "milk". Is it using skim milk, 2%, or whole? How does one know?



Floydm's picture

I don't think one does and it is a matter of personal preference.  Whole milk will add more fat add likely soften the loaf a bit more, but any of them should work in most instances.

ystamp's picture


I am trying to re-create a bread that I enjoyed while in Panama.  The bread was very pale in color but very crusty at the same time.  And the inside was very hollow and soft like cotton that melts in your mouth.  It did not have any crumb and it is made with fresh yeast, which I used, since my grocery store sells it.  The bread does not have any sugar or fat in it.  I was able to achieve the pale color and the crust, but I am not able to get the inside hollow, dense, and cottony soft. My bread has crumbs. I used AP flour, fresh yeast, water and salt.  I don't know what I am missing.  I am wondering if adding powder milk would do the trick?  Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

VonildaBakesBread's picture

I wanted to read about slack dough, but the link is broken? And what does "folding" look like?

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

(right up there at the top of the comments)  

meanwhile:  slack doughs,  what does folding look like?  a mess!  Lol!   Actually the idea is to turn a mess into something constructive.  Scrape or plop the dough (top side down) out onto a floured surface and pick up the edge of one side with finger tips and pull upward and outward quickly and plop it over onto the other sticky dough lying there.  It should look like a folded half round sticky object with two layers.  brush off any excess flour that may prevent the next fold from sticking.  Now take the opposite side of the fold and pull it up and out resting it on top of the dough.  Then do the ends.  That is one round of 4 folds.  (some will call that "one fold")  Now flip the mound of folded dough over and keep track of the top.  Place back into the bowl to rest or just cover and rest.  As you fold, the wet dough will tighten up and be a little bit higher each time you complete a round of folds.  

ejm's picture

A while back, I did a post about kneading slack dough that includes my understanding of "folding":


edit: Here is the FreshLoaf's Lesson Five, Number 6: Folding & Shaping with a very nice photo essay showing folding:

This is another good way to strengthen slack dough:

ejm's picture

This video archived on PBS "Baking With Julia: Decorative Loaves with Steve Sullivan" ( is fabulous. Go to 08:34 to see the section on folding.


Glenn Good's picture
Glenn Good

Greetings. I'm making Almond croissants this weekend and wanted to get some feedback on when I should insert the almond filling into the croissant? How much as well? Any help with the process would be sincerely appreciated. Thank you very much.

ilandgirl2013's picture

I am very new to this site and just started milling my own flour and attempting to bake whole wheat bread.  My bread could be used a paver stone.  It is so dense!  I'm not sure if I'm not kneading it enough (with a kA mixer) or where my problem is coming from but I'm getting really discouraged.  I hope I haven't wasted my money on a 45# bucket of hard white wheat and a mill.  Any help, advice or suggestions are welcomed! 

Leamlass's picture

I have read that a person can double a recipe, but my question is, do you double everything including yeast or starter ?  Thanks.

pmccool's picture

To get twice as much out, twice as much has to go in.  It's easiest to work with baker's percentages and weights, since the proportions stay the same regardless of how the quantities change.  Volume measurements can be harder to work with.


wulfsnake's picture

Question: If I use Gossner box milk to make bread, do I have to scald it?

laakecd's picture

My bread is tasty with a soft crust, which is what I want, but very dense. I'm using a recipe in "The Bread Baker's Apprentice" ( Variation 1, p.266). It contains powdered milk, eggs, and butter. How can I "loosen up" my bread? Is my problem the flour/ liquid ratio, knead time, or what? Baking is my new hobby, so I'm just feeling my way. But I'm having a lot of fun with it. Thanks for your comments.

pnpakdi's picture

How to add raisin to the bread?


LindaBackus's picture

Can the authors or anyone give me an idea of conversion of amounts to Australian.  ie I converted USA cups of flour to Australian cups and thus  into grams. However, because the flour isn't compacted in your cups in the master recipe,  it means I have added way too much flour.  Then just guessing water. Any ideas please? Could someone tell me how much a cup using sweep and level method actually weighs... in grams?   Thank you.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

and any volume measurement is that they can vary from one cup to the next, even with the same person, cup and flour.  When I convert American cup recipes, I tend to go with 125 to 130g and see where that takes me then adjust with the second round of that recipe.  Weighing water and flour in grams will save a lot of guess work in the long run.  An american cup of water is, well,  I use 240g.   Metric cups are also available with one cup of water 250g.  

You could take any vessel and use as a "cup."  A cup of flour weighs roughly about half a cup of water.  If the cup flour amount is twice the cup water amount, that is too much water or roughly 100% hydration in the recipe.  Most flours are not absorbent enough for that much water.   A 50% hydrated dough would be 4 cups flour to one cup of water, roughly, and that may be a very stiff bagel or pretzel dough.   

Those are the parameters.  For four cups of flour, water can be anywhere from one cup (50%) to two cups (100%.)  

So the suggested method is to add the one cup of water to the flour, stir and then splash in as much as is needed from the second cup while stirring to moisten most of the flour, let the dough rest before adding more water.   Most likely less than half a cup more water is needed for most doughs.  Most wheat doughs are between 50 to 70%.

granny's picture

Hi All,

I am a newbie to baking without a Bread machine.

I only have a Countertop Oven hopefully I will be able to put a photo on.

I have been working on making Baguettes again a photo?

These are the ones I made this morning, they don't seem to get the scores to open up.

I would appreciate any help on the running temp of the oven... I have been running it at approx 200c.

I hope this is ok.

Regards Granny


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

They look good from here!  

Might want to rethink scoring.  When ready to score.  Think of a toy train track running down the top length of the dough, not quite one inch wide between the tracks.  Take your blade and rotate your hand until it looks like you want to slice off that track.  

You want to score inside that train track about four inches long.  Start your score at the upper right edge of the imaginary track and cut toward the left track reaching it about 4 inches down.  Back up a good inch, maybe one and a half inches and make a second score from the right track to the left track leaving a thin strip of connecting dough between part of two scores.  Watch your blade angle keeping it flattish, back up an inch, back to the right train track and score again ending on the left track. Finish.   

With the second loaf, you can space the lines better to your liking, but the trick is to score with the length of the loaf not square across it.  And to leave thin enough stripes between the scores to just hold the rising dough together in those spots while the openings expand.  There are videos here but I can't seem to figure out how to post a link using my iPad.  Site Search:   Scoring baguettes.   

Have Fun!

granny's picture

These are the fourth day of trying.

Thank you for the info I will have a look for scoring and practice on tomorrows tryout.....

It is Fun isn't it?

granny's picture

Hi all,

Decided to have a go at sourdough...

Made my starter on the 18/2 and this Morning made 4 Baguettes from it.

It is a great shock to one that tried handmade bread a 100 yrs ago and brought a bread machine instead....couldn't handle the little bricks I was getting by hand..

Anyway fast forward a 100 yrs and found this site while surfing and decided to give hand made another go.

I was pleasantly surprised with the result see prior pics..

So now Sourdough Baguettes NEXT the WORLD...

country blonde's picture
country blonde

Good Morning,

I have baguette dough fermenting in the fridge that went in at 4:00 pm yesterday.  It is supposed to double by 4:00 am to 4:00pm.  So far I see no movement in the Camco container at 7:00 am.  My question is, does the long ferment help mostly with building flavour.  The sourdough starter was really active when I started and I could see signs of fermentation when the dough went into the fridge.

Thank you for your thoughts, I am new to this fine craft.