The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


keat63's picture

Still Learning

July 18, 2012 - 5:32am -- keat63

Hi Guys.

I have a sourdough starter growing, started from Rye flour, and has been active about a week, so still very young. It's quite vigarous, and will double it's size inside a few hours.

Smells very potent, almost having a whisky/spirit smell. Is this normal.

Yesterday, I decided to try a small batch following a recipe on this site.

I let it sit at room temerature over night for a good 12 hours before I had to bake it (had to go to work)

KipperCat's picture

Need suggestions for teaching a beginner

April 1, 2012 - 7:32pm -- KipperCat

I haven't baked bread for a couple of years now.  Eating that good bread every day is what finally made me accept that I don't do well eating gluten!  A friend's daughter is interested in artisan bread baking.  Everything I remember about artisan bread is a low and slow rise, with lots of time and little yeast.  I'd like ideas for a method that doesn't require frequent intervention.  We live only a 10 minute walk from each other, but somehow I can't picture having her drop by for a quick fold every hour!

dawkins's picture

Well this is my first batch of baking to be posted to this site, and having read so many rave reviews, I knew Norm's Onion Rolls had to be the recipe to start me off. I used the variation posted by Ehanner (which was really clear and easy to follow, so many thanks)

As mentioned, the dough was really stiff andif I hadn't been following the recipe so closely, I would definitely have added more liquid. After a quick initial knead, I left the dough to sit for about 20 minutes, then got stuck in and kneaded for about 10-15 in total. i'm still recovering from a back operation, so I have to do this kind of thing in stints.

After the first rise, shaping and the recommended relaxing time, I squished the rolls into the onion mixture, as advised, and it stuck really well. I was a bit nervous of flattening them too much, and squashed them to about .5 inch, but as they rose so beautifully later, I'd be less ginger next time.

My fan oven isn't that efficient, so I knocked the temp down by just 5 degrees, and once the rolls were proved ( judged by finger poking), I did the thumb poke in the middle of each and put them in the oven with a splash of hot water in the tray at the bottom. I turned and rotated the trays after 10 minutes, and thanks to a call from my Mum mid-bake, they were ina bit longer than I'd planned - just over 25 minutes. Some of the onion got a little singed, but it still tastes good, but I'd cook them for less time next time around. And there certainly will be a next time, because despite my botching, these turned out incredibly delicious - I see what all the fuss is about! Thanks to Norm and all of you who've posted about this recipe for inspiring me to try it.

One question I have, is that although I imagined these we going to be more bagel-like in terms of density, they actually ended up quite light and fluffy (I'm always startled at how much white flour bread rises). I don't know if that's the correct consistency, but I'll post some pics once I've figured out how. but here are some pics of the results:

NetherReine's picture


November 3, 2011 - 5:01pm -- NetherReine

Hello.  Today I received my free sourdough starter (thank you NY Baker!).  In a few days it will be ready to go.  Can anyone offer suggestions on a sourdough bread recipe for a beginner?  I understand it is wise to stick with one recipe while you learn the ropes.  Which "one recipe" should that be?

ginnyj's picture

Video making basic bread

October 26, 2011 - 2:53pm -- ginnyj

I would like to find a good video showing someone baking a basic white or white and whole wheat bread without a bread machine.  I really enjoy watching people bake or cook.  I can learn better watching than just reading the steps.  I know there are lots of vidoes out there but am wondering if anyone has found a good one.

Thank you.



SourdoughRules's picture

I've read this website and blog for years.  Over those years I've tried lots of different breads from lots of books.  I haven't made a truly serious study of it.  I'm not baking multiple loaves a week, nor am I going through formal training to become a baker.  However I do have lots of books and recipes that I've tried repeatedly.  The first bread I ever made was a focaccia bread from a recipe I found in a USENET posting way back in the early days of the internet.  It was all I could find at the time.  Throughout college I used that plus the recipe for french baguette from Julia Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking."  In recent years I've added lots of bread books to my collection, and lots of trial and error.  I have the "Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day" and the follow-on book.  I have a book on ancient bread making.  I have the Tartin bread book.  I'm at the stage where I want to start trying to do things more seriously.  However I'm also at the stage where I can sort of wing it and have pretty good results.

Throughout the years I always had a facination for sourdough breads.  When I moved to my current location I was lucky enough to have a neighbor who has been feeding the same starter for over 35 years.  He gave me a sample of it and it is the basis for all of the sourdough cooking that I do.  It is a very vigorous starter that I keep in the fridge and feed 1 cup of water and 1 cup of unbleached King Arthur All Purpose flour every 1-2 weeks.  It has served me well and I look forward to continuing with it.

Like many others I will be posting recipes and pictures of the results of those recipes.  Some will be from the standard sources.  Others, like my first entry, will be the results of my experimentation.  I don't always follow the rules as much as I should, but as long as the results are good (or at least good enough) then I guess I shouldn't complain.  It is just a bit intimidating to make posts of such amateur results when there are so many amazing posts of delicious and beautiful breads by other members.  We all start somewhere I suppose, and this is where I'm starting the sharing of my bread adventures online.



neeraj2608's picture

Whole Wheat Bread Raw from Bottom

September 15, 2011 - 11:40am -- neeraj2608

Hello all,

This is my first post on The Fresh Loaf. I've been a regular (unregistered) visitor to the site for a couple of months and I've learned a lot about bread from these forums, so a quick thank you to all you helpful people out there.

Anyway, here's my problem: no matter what I do, my bread always comes out slightly raw at the bottom and the lower halves of the sides.

pitterpatter's picture

Help! My whole wheat dough won't double!

June 20, 2011 - 2:00pm -- pitterpatter

I just attempted my first loaf using a recipe for Whole-Wheat Spiced Bread from the World of Breads (Casella, 1966).   I proofed the yeast successfully, but the dough never rose more than about 25-50%, and the resulting bread was delicious, but not as light as I had hoped.  What went wrong?  Here's what I did:

Poured 2 c scalded milk over:

*1/4 c brown sugar, 1 t salt, 1/4 c honey, 1/3 c butter


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