The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


dolcebaker's picture

bread with cornmeal- looking for suggestions, recipes

February 11, 2012 - 12:09pm -- dolcebaker

I will be a vendor at a Farmers Market location that will in the afternoon host a fish fry.  I had an idea of doing something in the shape of a fish.  Browsing around, I decide that my madeline pan would be a good basis for a small roll or something make with yeast that I can shape a tale onto, an msybe a dorsal fin.  I thought something that included cornmeal in the formula would be good.

Suggestions?   Alternative would be a dough I can use a cookie cutter on??



Sheblom's picture


A while back I baked a raisin and rosemary loaf and it came out quite well, and the flavour was quite excellent. I have only been baking for a year now and from that year I have gather one opinion. I have still lots to learn.

So I am going back to basics. Just have one simple recipe and tweak that recipe to learn all the ins and outs of getting a decent loaf of bread. Don't get me wrong I will be baking with different recipes that I find here on fresh loaf and in Various books. My major aim though is to stick with one basic recipe and learn all the ins and outs. What temperature to bake at, when to add the salt, what temperature the water must be, how long to proof the loaf, what will happen if I have a high hydration loaf, etc

This is all in aid for me to learn and know when and where certain elements will happen. So that it will be less hit and miss if it going to be a good loaf and be more certain that a loaf will come out how it should.

The basic recipe I will be following is the same one from the lesson found on this website [LINK]

3 cups of all purpose flour

2 teaspoons of yeast

2 teaspoons of salt

1 1/8 cup water

In the loaf I will be showing today I have added about 1/4 cup of raisin and 2 Tablespoons of rosemary. I just love the combination of these two ingredients.

So now for some pictures:

As always start with the recipe:

Then the required utensils and ingredients [I do all my bread baking by hand as I do not have a mixer of yet]

Add the Yeast to the warm water to activate 

Add the flour, at this point I have held back the salt and let the flour and water and yeast sit for about 10min to Autolyse

I then add the salt and then Knead for 10 - 15 min, I then leave the dough to rest for about 15 min

While the dough is resting I cut up the fresh rosemary to be added to the dough

I then add the raisins and rosemary and knead for another 5min. I then tighten up my boule and let proof for about 45min. I then fold the dough and least proof for another 30min

After it has proofed, I then punch down and reshape into the final boule shape. 

I preheat my oven to 230c and place in my pizza stone to heat up as well. I also place an old roasting dish to water up at the bottom of the oven.

Once the loaf has been proofing for about an hour, I place the boule onto the pizza stone and slice in a cross. As I place boule in the oven I reduce the heat to 200c and though some ice blocks in the heated roasting dish to create steam.

I bake the loaf for about 15min then turn the loaf and back for a further 10 - 15min. 

and here is the end result:

and crumb

I am quite happy with how the loaf came out, the crust was nice and crispy and the flavour was good. I think the crumb is still a bit dense and spongy. This might be due to the salt being added later. Aslo it looks like it "blew out on one side, I am not sure why this happen, maybe my slicing was not up to par.

Next I will try this recipe without the raisin and rosemary and try it with out the autolysis and a different slicing pattern and see what will happen. Hopefully this will rectify some of the issues that I have had.

Please let me know what you think or if I must try something out at different stages of my bake.


Please excuse any spelling or grammar mistakes, it is not my strongest strength.

I have also submitted this post to YeastSpotting :

grisdes's picture

Fresa Yeast

January 30, 2012 - 9:42am -- grisdes


I live in the Bay area in a little town called Benicia, California between Sacramento and San Francisco. Does anybody know where can I find fresh yeast cakes? The little cubes they used to sell in the stores many years ago? I know we all can find the dry yeast but I sure miss the fresh one. Any advice?

Thank you.

jonesrdh's picture

Is it my breadmaker or the yeast???

January 25, 2012 - 4:26pm -- jonesrdh

I have had the same breadmaker for 5 years.  It was my mom's before that so I don't know how old it is.  I discovered that if I go against the advice of the breadmaker handbook (add ingredients in order suggested which is wet, then dry, then form a well and put yeast in it) Instead I add warm fluid, yeast, sugar and wait 10 min then add the ingredients on top of that, I get a much lighter loaf.

Truth Serum's picture
Truth Serum

I am wondering if any folks on this site, have some tried and true low sodium around 100 -150 milligrams per serving recipes for bread that they liked to share.

Lumpynose's picture

I've been thinking about leavening and fermenting with bread making. The books I've been reading are Jeffrey Hamelman's Bread, Peter Reinhart's Whole grain breads and Artisan breads every day, and Chad Robertson's Tartine bread.

Both Peter Reinhart and Chad Robertson state that the sour flavor for a sourdough comes from the Lactobacillus sanfranciscensis bacteria, not from the yeast. The Lactobacillus produce lactic acid which makes the bread taste sour. This is what I call fermenting.

In a sourdough starter the wild yeast produces gas, and this is what I call leavening. Likewise, commercial yeasts provide leavening, except that they're faster than wild yeast and predictable.

When reading about bread making and pizza making, people use the word fermenting to describe part of the bread making process when I think what they really mean is a combination of both leavening and fermenting. It seems to me that fermenting is a catch-all word for a long rest period for the dough; for example, "bulk fermentation." Coming from the fermented vegetables background (for example, sour kraut, kimchi, and fermented pickles, where the vegetables are put in a brine solution for several weeks) I think of fermenting as the souring process from the Lactobacillus bacteria.

As an example of the terminology problem, in Hammelman's Bread, starting on page 13 he describes bulk fermentation but he mixes together the actions of leavening from the yeast producing gas, and fermentation saying that fermentation produces the superior flavors. He talks about the "production of organic acids during fermentation" without explaining how they're produced. He goes on to say that organic acids develop slowly and take hours before there are enough to benefit the bread's flavor. Nothing incorrect there, but things could be more carefully delineated and explained.

The same is also true for The Yeast Treatise at; fermentation and leavening are being conflated.

When describing bulk fermentation and the role of the temperature of the dough, one of the interesting things Hammelman says is that "the flavor components in the dough prefer temperatures lower than that required for maximum gas production." By "flavor components" I'm assuming he's talking about the Lactobacillus bacteria's activity. This no doubt explains how these no knead recipes work where you put the dough in the refrigerator for several days; the yeast activity is greatly slowed down while the Lactobacillus activity is slowed down to a lesser degree.

Back to the leavening side, if you're using a no-knead recipe where the bread sits for several hours and you do a stretch and fold periodically, you should do the stretch and fold gently, so that you don't squeeze out the gas that's in the dough from the yeast. This shows that leavening is occurring during the inaptly named bulk fermentation step.

For some people this may be hair splitting terminology. Before I retired I was a computer programmer and systems administrator and in that field it is crucial to always use the correct words (and not mash things together) when describing things. So I think this hair splitting is helpful for understanding the different things that are going on in the bread dough.

One new thing that I learned from Robertson's book is that for him a starter isn't just a starter; there are desirable starters and undesirable starters. An undesirable starter is one that's excessively sour. A desirable starter is one where the wild yeast is very active and the Lactobacillus is just getting up to speed, although he doesn't explain it that way and instead uses visual and olfactory clues (very bubbly and doesn't smell a lot).

Because the Lactobacillus are doing the fermenting and improving the bread's flavor and not the wild yeast, I think this is why bakers (for example, Peter Reinhart) get good results by using commercial yeast in addition to a sourdough starter. The starter is mainly seeding the dough with Lactobacillus bacteria for the fermentation and the commercial yeast provides the leavening. The starter may or may not have a good population of wild yeast, but in any event the commercial yeast produces a quicker and more predictable rise.

After thinking about this, one idea that I've had is that it should be possible to redesign the starter so that its recipe favors the Lactobacillus bacteria; the only yeast it needs is whatever is necessary to keep the Lactobacillus happy. Then, in the bread recipe, use commercial yeast for the leavening and use the starter for seeding the dough with Lactobacillus. I'm speculating that with the correct amounts of starter, yeast, and fermentation time that a good bread can be made. And probably without the long three day period that's currently necessary.

Rising times with commercial yeasts are undoubtedly well known and documented; for example, a percentage of yeast (using baker's percentages), a hydration range, and a temperature range will yield an appropriate rise in so many hours and minutes. Then, all that's needed is knowing how long of a fermentation period is needed for the Lactobacillus, how much Lactobacillus, at what temperature, etc. Matching the correct amount of yeast with the correct amount of Lactobacillus for a particular temperature, hydration, and period should yield a good loaf of bread.

All that's needed is for some enterprising food scientist to culture and dry Lactobacillus so that in addition to buying instant dry yeast we can also buy instant dry fermentation.


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