The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Most bookmarked

qahtan's picture

buttermilk bread

Please don't ask me for the recipe...I was interupted and that threw every thing out of wack.. 

 I had 2 cups warm milk,
       2 cups water
       1 rounded table spoon of sugar
       1 good ounce fresh yeast crumpled
       4 cups flour
       Then after  this was mixed I added 3 heaping tablespoons dry butter milk, about 1/2 cup soft butter, mixed that well and added 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and enough flour togive me a nice dough..  It's the amount of flour that I put in I am not sure of... ;-))) qahtan

tattooedtonka's picture

This weekends baking part 2, lots of pics..

I dont really know if these photos will help anyone. I wanted to post them so some folks who may be having problems with shaping batards and baguettes and transferring to peel could see how I do it (I'm not a pro, I'm just using this as the way that works for me). And on with the show....

I start with a 3/4 sheet pan and take a dish towel and roll it up into a cylinder laying it against one side. Then I take a sheet of parchment paper and lay across the top of the rolled towel. I then take another towel and roll it up and place it under the paper against the first loaf. Then repaeat first step in placing next loaf, followed by another towel.

After the loaves are done with their final rise I use a razor to cut the paper around the edges of the loaf.

Second loaf is done the same way.

After the paper is trimmed I transfer loaf, paper and all onto peel.

Half way thru bake I turn the loaf 180 degrees on the stone pulling the paper out during the process.

And here is the sourdough baguette coming out of oven.

Here is the sourdough batard after bake.

And another photo of baguette after bake.

Here is a hodge-podge of this weekends bake. Whats left of my daughters two white loaves. Whats left of my Sourdough boulle, a SD batard and baguette. And a dozen bagels getting ready to go into the boil.

And I still have another boulle of sourdough in the fridge waiting to be baked after chillin for another 24hrs. I think I need to start thinking about wearing a kilt. Its getting awfully warm by mid day in my kitchen. And from what I understand, I can even get one of those cool little hanging pockets for the front to keep my measuring spoons in...... :-)


AnnieT's picture

Pane Sicilian

Brotkunst, I am so jealous! I made my second batch of this bread yesterday and it didn't look anything like yours! I used durum flour both times but didn't know about altering the percentage of bread flour. The pate fermentee was softer this time, and the crumb was very yellow and had only small holes. I'm beginning to think I don't proof doughs long enough, but the risen "Ss" were very puffy and when I poked one the dent remained, which is what I think PR says. I charred the first batch I made and really wanted to get it right this time - and then I saw your picture and went into deep depression. Not really, I'm a stubborn old woman and will try again, but I would appreciate any suggestions you could make. I love this site and feel as though I am learning a lot, thanks to all for sharing, A

kjknits's picture

Weekend Baking

So I have baked a lot of bread this weekend, if you count Friday.  Friday saw the BBA pugliese.




I liked it, but it didn't turn out the way I expected it to.  It wasn't as soft as it looked like it would be in the book photo.  The book photo bread is all squooshed down on top, as if it has a ciabatta-like, softer crust.  Also, my crumb wasn't near as open.  But, it was still nice, sort of like a generic Italian bread.

Yesterday I started to bake some sandwich bread (just my usual recipe), but then the day got short on me and I ended up putting the shaped loaves in the fridge for overnight.  I baked them this morning before church, and they seem different.  I haven't sliced them yet, but it does seem like the crust might be a little chewier.  There are lots of little blisters all over the crust, too, which they usually don't have.  It will be interesting to see what the crumb texture (and flavor) are like.

I also baked Bill's sourdough pagnotta today with my new starter.  Now this is a bread I can get behind!!!  With a big, wide open mouth! 




 It's gorgeous, albeit a bit flat.  It's such a wet dough that I just don't think it can do much.  But my starter performed wonderfully, doubling the dough in 4 hours and doubling the shaped boules in 3 hours.  Fantastic.  I did a few things differently than the recipe--I made up a sponge last night, using the starter, water, and just the AP flour.  Let it sit overnight on the counter.  It was super sour and foamy this morning, which worried me, bc I don't like really sour bread.  But I kept going.  I used KAF AP, KAF bread, and then for that last 100 g of flour, I substituted organic whole wheat graham flour from Hodgson Mill.  It made a beautiful dough.  I also used gray sea salt from France.  And, I mixed the dough in my mixer rather than doing all of the folds.  It took about 10 minutes at med-high speed to get a windowpane.

I proofed the shaped boules in improvised bannetons, namely wood salad bowls lined with smooth kitchen towels and dusted with flour.  Baked them at 500 for 20 minutes and did the steam thing (I baked the first loaf without the steam, and it got less oven spring than the other two).

The crust is thin, crisp but chewy, and nice and brown.  The crumb is open, holey, smooth and moist (almost tastes buttery).  And most importantly, it isn't too's just right.  And so, count me as another "Bill's Sourdough Pagnotta" convert!


BROTKUNST's picture

Pan Siciliano with KAF Durum Flour (Pictures)

I use to bake P.Reinhard's Pan Siciliano with Semolina Flour ... Yesterday, whe I wanted to prepare a Pan Siciliano for Sunday breakfast I found out that I ran out of Semolina Flour. So I took Durum flour instead, as you know, basically the same - just more flour like.


I had to add 0.75 oz more (High Gluten) flour than with the Semolina flour to achieve the same consistency. The crumb was as you may expect less yellow but very moist and chewy-soft. The taste is excellent and I am tempted to say that I prefer this bread with 'regular' Durum flour compare to Semolina.


Pan Siciliano - Crust

Pan Siciliano - Crust


Pan Siciliano - Crumb

Pan Siciliano - Crumb





bluezebra's picture

Question about Developing Sourdough Dough

I apologize in advance if this is a stupid question. But when I've been building a dough with a poolish and with yeast here are my steps:

1. Build the poolish.

2. Let the poolish sit overnight of for hours - UNDISTURBED

3. Add poolish to rest of flour and water etc

4. Stretch and fold dough multiple times to get the gluten developed

5. Do a bulk fermentation to x 2 in dough volume

6. Cut and shape

7. Final Rise

8. Bake

It occurs to me I don't have a step-by-step process worked out in my mind of how sourdough dough development works. Could you tell me if I'm messing up my steps please?

1. Build the starter up to active state. (Takes as many days and feedings as necessary)

2. Add starter to rest of flour and water. Mix it up and let it autolyse for an hour or so.

3. Add salt and other ingredients into the dough mixture.

4. Stretch and fold dough multiple times to get the gluten developed

5. Do a bulk fermentation to x 2 in dough volume

6. Cut and shape

7. Final Rise

8. Bake


Are these the right steps or did I miss the part where the newly mixed dough with starter needs to ferment undisturbed? Can anyone give me a step by step guide for a basic sourdough bread or is each recipe different in it's methodology?

ehanner's picture

My Daily Breads


Last Friday I had the privilege of starting the pilgrimage to the Upper peninsula of Michigan to watch my Niece graduate at the top of her HS class. Wanting to add something to the celebration I offered to bake the bread for what turned out to be a fairly large party (100+-). In an earlier post I have talked about my preparations and plans for this bake of what turned out to be 16 loaves.

I am following up with this post so that any of you who feel compelled to undertake a larger group party perhaps will garner some insight into the details of the challenge.

After consulting with Mike Avery, I decided to take his advice and use a recipe that uses a Poolish with a 12 hour ferment at room temps. I mixed the 20 loaf batch of Poolish in three equal smaller batches in my 5 quart KA mixer the morning of departure. Starting at 6:00AM I dumped each successive batch into a new, clean 5 Gallon paint bucket. It started out at roughly 1/4 full which I marked on the side of the bucket. I should say I used cold water to give myself a little breathing room in the projected 12 hour ferment time. Thinking if I started with cold water I would slow down the fermentation while the temp slowly raised. Arriving in Houghton MI some 10 hours later, the Poolish was expanded 300% and was still active after 10 hours. I was glad I hadn't bought the 3 gallon bucket which seemed like it would be large enough :>)

I had premeasured the flours, yeast and salt into plastic zip lock bags that was the correct amount for 4 loaf batches. I decided to make a more complex mix than straight white French bread by using a blend of WW and a small amount of rye. Since my sister lives in the City (boy that's a stretch) I guessed that she has chlorinated water so I brought a gallon of my well water, just in case. There are many possible variables and I was trying to trim the possible calamities down to a minimum.

I tried to time the final dough assembly to one hour intervals to match the baking intervals. That is, 2 loaves baked for 30 minutes, times 2 equals 4 loaves per hour and each dough batch gave me 4 - 770 gram loaves. Gee, it looks so good on paper! Mike suggested that I do final proofing on parchment and skip the couche all together, which I did. I didn't do a long bulk ferment due to the fact that the Poolish is in itself a long ferment so I started forming my Batards after the first batch had fermented for 1 hour. Next, I sprayed the Batards lightly with olive oil and covered with plastic film for the final proof of about 1 hour. Preheated the oven/stone to 425F and into the oven for 30 minutes. I checked the first batch for temp just to be sure and they were 207F at 30 minutes and nicely browned.

Managing the production flow from mix/ferment/form/proof and bake was more of a challenge than I would of thought. I kept up with the timing but after the first batch was in the oven I was busy continuously for the next 4 hours. The last batch came out at around 3:AM my time and was the end of a long day which had started at 5:30AM the day before. I had taken 2 of my own cooling racks along since most people only have need for one. By the time the 3 racks were full, the first 4 loaves were mostly cool and I turned them over on the table to continue cooling.

I might of been able to bake 4 loaves on 2 shelves using the convection settings on this oven and shortened my time up by half. Honestly I wasn't willing to experiment and possibly not get get the expected results which would result in slowing me down. I don't have any experience using convection and I know there are changes that must be made in temp and time also some people have mentioned that they only use the fan for a short time. Some day I would like to play around with this method but this time I'll stick to what I know works.

 I also took along 2 loaves of Sunflower Seed bread (thanks sourdough-guy) and a loaf of my basic Sourdough for the family to munch on the night we got in. The Sunflower was a huge hit as usual. Later that day (Saturday), throngs of hungry party guests arrived and consumed mass quantities of carbs and ribs and such. The bread was a big hit since there isn't much in the way of artisan bread available in the way far North of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

Mini- I did get a chance to drive through Ontonagon and wave HI to your old stomping grounds. Also my sister ordered Pasties for lunch one day that were the best I've had. The crust was perfect and delicious, mmmm good! I may have to try my hand at that one of these days.

Over all, my efforts were appreciated not so much for the cost savings but for the unusual and delicious flavor of fresh baked bread. I shared with several people how I learned to bake here at The Fresh Loaf and invited them to join us in the pursuit of good bread. Most everyone was surprised that I have only been baking for a few Months and in fact, so am I. This forum is like a fast paced college course where nobody gets irritated if you raise your hand to ask a question. Thanks to everyone who has helped me get as far as I have in such short order!

Cooky's picture

ISO one great rye bread recipe

Hey, y'all. I have finally decided to branch out and give honest-to-gosh rye bread a whirl. I have a nice rye starter working, and I'd love to use it to recreate the fabulous rye I had in southern Germany lo these many years ago. It was medium brown inside -- not as dark as pumpernickel -- with a dark, glossy, chewy crust and a fantastic spongy texture. And oh yeah, the taste. Magnifico. (My memory may be slightly colored by the fact that when I was eating this bread I was a hungry youn'un schlepping a 50-pound pack across the byways of Europe. But it really was delish.)

I've never found quite the same thing in this country, so I'm hoping that somebody on The Loaf may recognize the type of bread I'm talking about, and perhaps have a recipe that might come close to reproducing it.

All hints, ideas, leads and suggestions welcome.




browndog's picture

What About You?

I want to spring-clean and have some fun--will you guys join me? Sometimes in intros people will share what started them down our common floury path, but I'd love to hear it from everyone--how did you first get in to bread baking? My own story is unremarkable, it was the 70's, I was a young hippie-wanna-be and had just gone vegetarian, which meant raiding my very lean discretionary fund piggy-bank for a copy of --wait for it--Diet For A Small Planet. Back then it was common 'knowledge' that good bread was plant or dairy protein and fiber glued together with a little spit...amazingly my interest transcended the experience, and 30 years out I'm learning new and reassessing or even deleting much of my old bread 'dogma'...thanks to you all.

Tam1024's picture

Starter won't double itself

I am trying to nurse my sick starter back to health and not getting the results I want.  About 10 days ago I started a vigorous attempt to revive my barely living starter.  I have been using 1/4 c. of starter, 3/4 c. flour and 1/2 c. water. I let it sit out for 12 hours and then refridgerate it for the next 12 hours. I then repeat the process day after day.   The starter has progressed some.  12 hours after feeding it has not doubled but has risen maybe half it's size.  It usually has very vigorous bubbles on the surface and 1/4 of the way down but not throughout.  What can I try to get it to double.  Any sugguestions?