The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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aturco's picture

La Cloche - Seasoning

I recently purchased a La Cloche dome earthware pot to make bread in. It makes amazing bread so far except the that the bottom is not as consistent as the rest of the loaf. It is usually very hard and brittle  and in some cases it turns out burnt, but the rest of the loaf is fine. I did season it with a light sheen of oil like the directions said and now the bottom is a dark brown or black.

Any suggestions, i tried cleaning it but the black stuff is not coming off. is my oven too hot? should i re-season again?

Help....i love making bread with this thing but want it PERFECT.



PaddyL's picture

Storage of instant yeast

Finally figured out how to post something, and my question is simple:  how do you store your instant yeast?  I've been buying Fleischmann's yeast by the pound, hermetically sealed, and once opened, I put it, package and all, into a plastic bag, seal it, and keep it in the fridge.  It usually lasts until the package is finished, but not always.  I've been told that it does better in the freezer, but that didn't seem to work at all for me.  I've also tried transferring it to a plastic jar with a tight-fitting lid, but it didn't last that way either.  The only reason I use the instant yeast is that it works out much cheaper than if I bought those jars of active dry yeast.  I'd love your thoughts, suggestions, etc.

foolishpoolish's picture

Sifted Wholewheat Sourdough Miche


rainbowbrown's picture

Seeded Cracker Parade




Seeded Cracker AnimalsSeeded Cracker Animals321


These are the seeded crackers from Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads. They are some of my favorite crackers. I used the Noah's Ark cookie cutters my boyfriend got me last Christmas. I also used a dinosaur one.


Here's the recipe from WGB:


8 oz (227 g)    whole wheat flour

2 oz (56.5 g) sunflower and/or pumpkin seeds, ground into a flour consistency (I usually use both)

2 oz (56.5g) sesame seeds, whole

1 oz (28.5g) flax seeds, ground

1/4 tsp (2 g) salt

5 oz (142 g) water

1 oz (28.5 g) honey

1 oz (28.5g) vegetable oil


1. Combine all ingredients, add flour or water as necessary to achieve a firm dough.

2. Knead for three minutes on a lightly floured surface.  The dough should be should not be soft and sticky or crumbly.  It should feel like modeling clay (the book specifies the modeling clay thing, and take this seriously for it really does feel like clay).

3. Let the dough rest for 20 minutes.  Either put in an oiled bowl, cover and let rest at room temperature for the night (recommended) or roll and bake right away.

4. When you're ready, roll out the dough.  Roll it on a lighty floured surface until about a quarter of an inch thick.  Let it rest for a couple minutes then continue to roll out to about an eighth of an inch thick.  I find it helpful to stop every few strokes and take a bench scraper to the edges and sort of gently lift the sheet an inch or so off the board and give it a little up and down motion (kind of like you would do with a blanket when making the bed, only much more gently) to make sure it isn't sticking to the board.  Be careful with this dough though, what with all the seeds and junk in it there's a hint of fragility to it.  Cut it with cookie cutters (as I enjoy doing) or take a pizza roller to it and cut it into squares (the more practical idea) and tranfer crackers to parchment papered and oiled cookie sheets.  I usually find that it takes about four cookie sheets worth of space and for me that's two batches.  They won't spread so they can be pretty close.

5. Bake at 350f for ten minutes.  Rotate and bake for another ten minutes, but start checking them at like seven minutes as you really don't want them to burn.  Then again you also don't want them to be undercooked or else they won't be at all crispy.  Look for a medium sort of browning color (does that mean anything? Hopefully...) No pale crackers and no really dark brown crackers.  They get crispier as they cool, so you can't judge their doneness that way.  You can cool them in the pans, but I usually don't just because I need to do a second batch.


That's all.  They're quite marvelous.  Have fun. 

dmsnyder's picture

Reinhart's San Francisco Sourdough from "Crust & Crumb"

SF SD from Reinhart's Crust&Crumb

SF SD from Reinhart's Crust&Crumb


SF SD from Reinhart's Crust&Crumb Crumb

SF SD from Reinhart's Crust&Crumb Crumb


When I started baking bread again after a 20 year lapse, it was to make two types of bread I loved but I could not get locally: Jewish Sour Rye and San Francisco Sourdough. The first bread book I purchase was Peter Reinhart's "Crust & Crumb," and I made his (prize winning) version of SF SD several times. It has been a while since I baked from this formula, and my understanding of bread making has advanced considerably. The Fresh Loaf community deserves most of the credit.


Well, it was time to return to my personal starting point and try again. In the meantime, I had made many sourdoughs, most of which in recent months have been with higher hydration doughs. So Reinhart's SF SD dough seemed really stiff to me. This time around I followed Reinhart's formula exactly, adding the diastatic malt for the first time. 


I fed the starter with KA Bread Flour. I used the same flour for the chef and the dough and added about 1/2 cup of whole rye.  The firm starter was retarded overnight before mixing the dough, and I also retarded the loaves after they had risen to 1 1/2 times their initial volume. I baked them after warming them at room temperature for 2 hours. I had forgotten how much I liked the flavor of this bread. The taste was quite sour, which I happen to like, and the crumb, while not quite as open as I wanted, was moist and chewy. 


Next time, the only change I'll make is to increase the hydration slightly.



bakerb's picture

pain a l ancienne

HI...Tonight I'd like to mix-up Reinhart's (BBA) pain a l ancienne, but I won't have time to finish it tomorrow or maybe not even till Wednesday that OK?  Or will it change or affect it in some way?

Thanks!   Beth

proth5's picture

Smackdown! Fresh vs Aged Home Milled Flour

Since the discussion continues on aging flour, this week I had the opportunity to mill and bake all in one day and I thought I would document the results.

I used the milling routine from my former post, but added two “medium coarse” passes prior to removing the bran. Immediately after milling I made the dough using the same method as my prior loaf. I really attempted to go “by the numbers” – number of strokes, dough temperature, fermentation time and temperature, and proofing time and temperature so the only difference would be between aging and not aging the flour.

What I observed was that I really didn’t feel the need for any adjustments. At no point was I thinking “Wow, this is different!” All seemed to move along as it had with the aged flour.

The final loaf (although somewhat more “boldly baked” shall we say) bore this out. Given small variations of shaping and slashing, it was nearly the twin of my other loaf.

The crumb – likewise.

The taste was a bit fresher, a little more lively – in short better to my taste.

My results seem to be consistent with Mr. Reinhart’s advice to bake quickly or wait two weeks. What I really can’t reconcile is the science – that says that oxidation is required to bring the flour to full gluten development potential. I will need to read and research more on this.

Unfortunately, my personal schedule will prevent me from running an experiment on aging day by day for some time – and that would be interesting. But for now, if my schedule permits – fresh flour it is.

Happy Milling!

bakingmad's picture

NY Style pizza- High Gluten Flour

I just tried some high gluten flour for a pizza...


The results made me a happy pizza eater/maker tonight.

 I made a dough that was semi-transparent in most parts of the dough.


It made a delicious thin crust.


My next experiment is with a thicker crust.

 1 cup High Gluten Flour

1 TSP Salt

1 TSP Active Dry Yeast

1 TSP honey

 Enough water to make the dough semi-sticky.






manuela's picture

Mrs. Sulzbacher's Chocolate Hearts

I think these cookies are really wonderful



3 oz. (3 squares, 85 g) unsweetened chocolate

1 lb. (454 g) sifted confectioners’ sugar

1 tsp (5 ml) vanilla extract

3 egg whites (or as needed), slightly beaten

granulated sugar as needed

The egg whites must NOT be added all at once, but little by little or the dough will be too soft and the recipe will fail. 

Melt the chocolate over hot water then add it to the confectioners’ sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer.Using the flat beater attachment mix briefly on the lowest speed, adding the vanilla. The mixture will be lumpy and most of the sugar will not be incorporated. Add the egg white 1 tbsp at a time, mixing on the lowest speed. You won’t probably need all of the amount indicated. The dough is ready when it is stiff and holds together when you work it by hand. The final consistency should be like play-dough.



Keep the dough in a bowl covered with a plate–plastic wrap does not work well—the dough tends to dry if left exposed to the air even for a few minutes.

Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C). If the temperature is higher, the cookies will puff up too fast and loose their shape.

Sprinkle a very generous layer of granulated sugar on a board and take an orange-size piece of dough, leaving the rest covered. Work the portion of dough briefly between the palms of your hands, then place it onto the sugar covered surface and roll it 1/8-inch (3 mm) thick (not thicker). Flip the flattened dough a couple of times while rolling it so that both sides are well covered with sugar.chocolate-hearts-rolled.jpg

Form the cookies with heart shaped cookie-cutters and place the cookies on a very lightly greased baking sheet. The dough scraps cannot be kneaded again because of the granulated sugar, so try to minimize the spaces between cookies while you shape them. The scraps can be baked as well and will make cookies as delicious as the rest, albeit of less perfect shapes.

Bake the cookies for about 10-12 minutes, they will puff up a little and dry like meringues. When they are ready switch off the oven leave them in the oven for a few more minutes to ensure they are really dry.

Cool the cookies on racks and store in airtight containers.

Note: these quantities will yield approximately 4 baking sheets of cookies. You can halve the recipe, but they are so good it would be a pity to bake a smaller quantity.


from bakinghistory

Rosalie's picture

Pancakes and Waffles: What's the Difference?

I like to make pancakes.  I used to have a (cheap) waffle iron, but it bit the dust.  I never replaced it, thinking it was too specialized and not necessary.

Although pancake and waffle batters are very similar, each recipe is specifically "pancakes" or "waffles".  But what makes this a pancake recipe and that a waffle recipe?

I found a thread online - Cooking Light forum November 2002 - that discussed this.  A couple people thought that waffle recipes are oilier to keep them from sticking to the iron; but that with modern non-stick surfaces that difference was becoming moot.

So what do you erudite breadmakers think?  Is that the only difference?  Can I take a "waffle" recipe and use it for pancakes, maybe just cutting back a bit on oil?  I'm tired of passing up waffle recipes because I don't have that appliance.