The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


varda's picture

Sometimes the hardest part of baking bread is being there.   Yesterday I meant to get to making a semolina bread (p. 135 of Hamelman's Bread) but I didn't quite get to it until later in the afternoon.   Then when it was finishing up the first rise, my son wanted me to take him out, so I delayed him until I could get the bread shaped, and then we went out to eat.   By the time we got back (only an hour later) the bread was ready to go into the oven,  but the oven wasn't preheated.   I didn't want to let the bread get overproofed, nor did I want to put it into a cold oven, so I did a little of both.   I preheated the oven for 10 minutes, and in it went.   The result - a little bit of oven spring, and an underdone bottom crust.   What would you have done under the circumstances?  And this is not a rhetorical question.

Yumarama's picture

Mellow Bakers is Officially Launched: April recipes posted

March 30, 2010 - 4:03pm -- Yumarama

As some of you may be aware, Mellow Bakers is a group of people who have taken on the baking of all recipes in the Jeffrey Hamelman book, "Bread".

We've already done a trial run recipe in March with several participants, many of them fellow TFLers, and tackled the Hot Cross Buns. And with this successful rum have now pretty much settled the process we'll be following.

With that, we're now Officially Launching into our first group bake with the following three recipes:

Rustic Bread, Light Rye and Bagels. 

Recluse's picture

My first time baking a recipe from Hamelman's Bread. I was a little bit intimidated, especially since I've had mediocre results with the few BBA recipes I've tried, and that's widely regarded as the better intro book for the home baker. I'm fairly certain that my lack of success stemmed, not from a problem in the recipes or instructions, but from mistakes that I made due to being totally distracted by all of the gorgeous photographs. And subbing ingredients. I get in more trouble that way...

In any case, after reading through the first part of Hamelman's book, and poring over the instructions a few times, I did manage to successfully follow the recipe. The only thing I did differently was to swap out cracked wheat for flax seeds, since I didn't feel like running to the store for one measly ingredient.  Flax seeds were on the list of acceptable substitutions, so really, I as good as followed the recipe, right? That's what I'm telling myself.

This was also the inauguration of my kitchen scale as a baking assistant. It has been my faithful weight-loss tool for a number of months. I have no idea why it took me so long to use it for this second purpose, as it was an almost magical experience, not having to add an extra cup of flour, or half cup of water, to get my dough the correct consistency. Everything came together in a dough that was a bit tacky, but still very manageable, and I didn't have to tinker with it at all. I feel like I never want to measure by volume again.

Same dough, three different loaves.

I made two 1.5 lb loaves: One round loaf to practice my slashing (I am getting better, ever so slowly), and one pan loaf, because sandwiches rock my world. The approximately 1 lb of dough left I used to make a smaller loaf, which I took in to work. My coworkers happily devoured it, so I guess it turned out just fine. 

Round loaf

The loaves didn't rise quite as much as I expected. I'm not sure if that's because I didn't develop the gluten enough, didn't proof long enough, or if I just had unrealistic expectations for this kind of loaf. In any case, the texture was not at all off-putting or brick-like, and the flavor was excellent. The last few times I've made non-sourdough bread, I was disappointed by the flat flavors that I got, but there was no such problem with this loaf. I happily ate a slice of it plain, and then made a killer tuna salad sandwich with it. I loved the little pops of texture that the grains contributed, and the crackly, toasty crust.

Crumb shot

(Please pardon my taken-with-a-cellphone photographs.)

I still have a lot to learn, but for now I'm content, because this is some of the best bread that I've made to date. Although if anyone has suggestions that might help make my next batch even better, I'm all ears!

CaptainBatard's picture

When my sister-in-law invited me up to NY for Thanksgiving diner for family and friends...I thought to myself...oh S--- I am going to get stuck in traffic for hours...and then she said and bring one of your breads. first thought was to make the very festive two tier Celebration Loaf with nuts and cranberries. It would make a nice centerpiece for the table and be very festive. When I thought it out....I needed a bread I could retard overnight and throw in the oven first thing in the morning so I could leave before noon on Wednesday to run the gauntlet to the city. Since I had only one chance to get it right... the bread had to be reliable, stay fresh for a few days and make a good a sandwich. The choice was a real no brainer..... Hamelman's Sourdough Seed Bread....the tastiest, most reliable bread you ever want to make. If you have never made this bread must try will become your favorite too...

This is being sent to Susan at  Wild Yeast for  Yeastspotting

Nathan's picture


Long-time lurker, first-time poster. Although I haven't been active on the Fresh Loaf, I have spent a lot of time reading, learning from and enjoying the content posted by fellow bread enthusiasts. Now, I hope to become a more active member of this site, hence this blog entry which serves as a brief introduction of myself as well as some pictures of one of my recent bakes.

I've been baking on a regular basis for about three years now. I enjoy baking all sorts of bread, though I have to say I'm a sourdough junkie at heart. Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, I've been living in Madrid, Spain for the past ten years.

The following photos are of a recent bake of the sourdough seed bread found in Hamelman's Bread (p. 176). This is a lovely bread and I find myself baking it time and time again.

Lastly, I'd like to thank all members of the Fresh Loaf for their time and dedication. Your knowledge and help have made me a better baker.


Hamelman's Sourdough Seed Bread

Hamelman's Sourdough Seed Bread - Crumb

SallyBR's picture

Vermont Sourdough with Whole Wheat

July 27, 2009 - 5:15am -- SallyBR

It's been quite some time since I posted, but I wanted to share with you my new blog (about 6 weeks old only!) - I hope it is ok to post a link to it? If it is not, please let me know and I will remove this thread.


I started blogging because of he Bread Baker's Challenge that I joined in a moment of lunacy  :-)

Steve H's picture

Question Regarding Vermont Rye Sourdough Retardation

June 3, 2009 - 2:28pm -- Steve H

I made Hamelman's Vermont Rye again the other day and it didn't really come out right.  After letting the levain sit for 15 hours, I made the final dough and threw it in the fridge for bulk fermentation overnight.  The next morning it had grown in size somewhat but was so soupy (somewhere between batter and dough) I couldn't handle it.  Furthermore, I had to add a ton of flour just to get it to the point where I could feel comfortable transferring it to a banneton.  I then retarded it for another 12 hours and baked it..  It came out alright, if a bit spongy.



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