The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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dmsnyder's picture

Humidity versus Steam

All the "artisan baking" (I know the adjective is "artisinal," Mike!) books I have provide instructions for humidifying the oven to approximate the function of steam injectors in professional bread ovens. Some recommend using ice cubes. Some recommend hot water. Some recommend humidifying the oven before putting loaves in. Others humidify after loading the loaves.

 I think it is Maggie Glezer in her recipe for Dan Lepards Country French Bread who recommends putting ice cubes in a pan before loading to "humidify" the oven and putting hot water in a skillet after loading the oven to "steam" it.

 Can anyone comment on this procedure and clarify 1) the difference between humidifying the oven and steaming the oven, 2) the difference in the timing of adding water (in whichever form) on oven spring and crust formation?

And, has anyone tried the garden sprayer method Glezer recommends? If so, does it really yield a different result than throwing hot water into a hot skillet?



MissyErin's picture

BreadBakingDay #10 has been posted! Everyone is welcome and encouraged to participate!

BreadBakingDay #10 is up - please join in!  For those of you that aren't aware of BreadBakingDay - its a monthly event where people from all over the world bake bread for a specific theme!  This month's theme is Breakfast Breads!  All you have to do is take a picture of it and submit it - all the details are at:

Zorra at started this fun blogging event for all of us to particapte in! 


qahtan's picture

too much butter, but it worked

I milled some whole wheat berries today to make the same roll dough but with 25% whole wheat flour swapped for white.
Some how the dough was not quite right as I had to add a fair bit more white flour to get a dough that I was able to handle, hmmm strange????
Any way I now see that I added 8 ounces of melted butter instead of 4 ounces,,,,,,  This is the results, the finished loaves and the crumb, it tastes wonderful and the texture is great..... :-))) phew.

foolishpoolish's picture

Enriched Sourdough Breads

I'm curious since I've not seen a whole lot of sourdough recipes that use ingredients such as milk, eggs, butter etc. Having recently experimented with these ingredients in sourdough I've had results which are less than satisfactory flavour-wise - the sour flavour always seems to dominate even more so than lean sourdough breads which have been proofed for a similar time. I thought one explanation might be the lactose in dairy products feeding the lactobacillus...but I'm not so sure that the typical sourdough lactobacillus (eg sanfranciscensis) can metabolise such makes no sense, having evolved around grains/starches to prefer a lactose food source.

That said, would oil or shortening be a more appropriate fat to use with sourdough?

Also, I've followed the procedure for making so-called italian 'sweet starter' for use in an all-wild-yeast panettone but with little success - the same uber-sour issue crops up again. Using the same starter in a lean sourdough recipe gives me a mild flavoured I can only assume that there is something going on with regards to added sweeteners / fats etc. that increases the sour (favouring the lactobacillus).

Thoughts most welcome...



PaddyL's picture

I did it!

I made baguettes using a non-commercial yeast starter, just flour and water and those lovely wild yeasties.  Gorgeous crust, lovely soft insides, softer than I thought they'd be actually, but crusty baguettes nonetheless.  My first real sourdough bread.  Feels great!  Oh, and they're whole wheat.

zainaba22's picture

Oat Sourdough Bread

Astrid from Paulchen's Foodblog selected oat as theme for this month's Bread Baking Day.

BreadBakingDay #9 - bread with oat

I got inspired from zorra for this recipe & the method from iban.

For more information about sourdough starter you can read Susan post about Sourdough Starter from Scratch .

60 g (1/2 cup + 1 Tablespoon) oat flour.

374 g (2 1/2 cups) whole wheat flour.

670 g (4 1/2 cups) high gluten white flour.

1 1/2 teaspoons salt.

2 teaspoons sugar.

2 teaspoons yeast.

46 g (1/2 cup + 1 Tablespoon) milk powder.

2 Tablespoons oil.

90 g (1/3 cup) sourdough starter.

3 cups water.

1) Place all ingredients in the bowl of mixer; beat 10 minutes to make soft dough.

2) Cover dough and let rise in warm place until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hour, stretch & fold every 30 minutes.

3) Divide dough into 2 pieces

4) Shape each piece into round loaf, cover; let it rise in warm place until doubled in size, about 40-60 minutes.

5) Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 500 F.

6) Before baking dust flour over the top of the loaf, slash the bread.

7) Reduce the heat to 400F, bake for 15 minutes with steam, & another 15 minutes without steam.



DakotaRose's picture

Breads made with exotic flours

I went down to our local mill and purchased some exotic flours the other day.  I want to use them as additions to our favorite whole wheat recipe.  I was just wondering if anyone else has worked with these flours and has some good recipes for them.  I started out today by adding some quinoa to the recipe and it came out dense, but boy was it good.

Thank in advance.

koolmom's picture

Bite sized cinnamon rolls


 I have a great recipe for cinnamon rolls.  I roll out the pastry to 24x14.  after rolling I have a 24 inch log, that I cut into 2 inch rolls.

This makes 12 rolls.  However after baking each roll grows to 2 inches high by a radius of 4 inches on average.  I would like to make smaller rolls that could be classifed as bite sized or two-bite sized roll for an event we are hosting.

 Anyone have any ideas how to accomplish this?



swtgran's picture

Weaverhouse, local Prairie Gold

I found a local source for all kinds of grains and such locally to us.  I didn't know if others in our area might be interested.  I just ordered 100 lb. of Prairie Gold Wheat Berries.  The price is considerably more than it was last summer but, I'm thinking it is just going to keep going up, if for no other reason than fuel.  It is in Rittman which I think might be closer to you than Hartville.  You can order by phone and pick it up.  Terry

postino's picture

semolina starter

I tried making altamura bread using semolina sourdough from Leader's book. I came out somewhat dense. Is this a characteristic of durum flour breads?  It didn't seem that my starter was very bubbly. Could I make a semolina starter by refreshing a stiff dough levain with durum flour?  Thanks for any help.