The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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Floydm's picture

Yesterday's Sourdough

Fed the starter dark rye flour Sunday evening.  Monday morning combined:

1000g bread flour

680g warm water

Left that as an autolyse for half an hour, then added:

20g salt

180g ripe starter

Mixed it briefly.  Stretched and folded every hour over the next three hours, then put it in the fridge.

Mid-morning Tuesday, pulled it out of the fridge and divided the dough into three loaves.  Shaped them and let them rise for about 90 minutes, then baked them at 465F covered for 15 minutes and uncovered another 30. 

 I'm pretty pleased with the result I get when I feed my starter dark rye flour then bake with bread flour.  The rye livens up the starter and adds just touch of tang, but the loaf is still quite light. 

painperdu's picture

Hello from Chicago

Hello fellow bakers,

I chose the name painperdu because I feel literally lost here in Chicago after spending most of my adult life in Paris. No need to bake over there, really, with a bakery on every corner and one of the very best right down the street, so I haven't done any serious bread baking since I was a kid, helping my mother while she made her Latvian specialties (Ohh, the sourdough black bread or the fabulous rolls she would make for holidays... Now I know she worked so hard at it because she was a lost refugee longing for a taste of home!).

Now that personal circumstances have forced me to leave my adopted home and try to adapt to this strange place, I am homesick for real French bread. I have tried some so-called baguettes available here but they just don't taste right. And they are made from conventional, not organic flour: no GMO's for me, thank you. In desperation, I decided to make my own bread. The results were dismal. When I started looking for help on line, I tried many recipes and tips but I'm still not satisfied. I realize that the flour is different here, the type of water makes a difference and it seems there are countless other variables to consider. So I was very pleased to find this forum. I can see there are many posts to read and they look very promising. Even though I feel reasonably accomplished as a cook, my baking skills are minimal so I will probably just lurk and read and keep trying for now. Thanks to all of you for being there!


breadsong's picture

Bread Fashion Show - BBD #56

Hello everyone,

January’s Bread Baking Day theme is “A Bread Fashion Show”, with a call for decorated crusts.
What a lovely idea!


A Fashion Show seemed to call for fabric – how to use fabric to decorate bread?
I was reminded me of a photo I saw once, of one of Roger Gural’s beautiful breads, stencilled with a lacy pattern.
Off to the fabric store I went.

This is Mr. Hamelman’s Unkneaded Six-Fold French Bread, using a big piece of lace to stencil, for this month’s baking challenge. I wish I could say I used fancy French lace – this was more likely drapery material :^)    



Many thanks: to Mr. Gural for the inspiration, to Mr. Hamelman for his delicious recipe, to Jenni at The Gingered Whisk for a wonderful idea for this month’s challenge, and to Zorra for her Bread Baking Day event.
I’m so looking forward to seeing what other bakers will create for this month’s ‘decorated bread’ baking theme!


*Update to this post - one more entry for the Fashion Show :^)

I was going through some photos and remembered this bread I baked a long time ago (2011).
This bread was inspired by a fashionable, floral, felted hat, made by a very talented lady I met at a bread-baking class -
I wanted to add this bread to this post!
This sourdough bread's crust was covered with decorative dough 'flowers', that had been colored with white flour, cocoa and cornmeal; the 'leaves' were colored with green pea flour. Had fun with cookie cutters, for this one :^)


Happy baking everyone,
:^) breadsong


johannesenbergur's picture

Scandinavian Rye


  • Whole grain
    • 150g whole grains
      • Feel free to combine different sorts: wheat, rye, barley, spelt
  • Dough
    • 450 g water
    • 150g sourdough
    • 5g fresh yeast
    • 10g honey
    • 10g malt syrup
    • Seeds and the alike
      • Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, sesame seeds
        Just a small handful
    • 150g stale bread
    • 25g salt
    • 600g flour
      • 300g rye
      • 50g semolina or durum
      • 250 other flour
        • Graham
        • Spelt
        • Wheat
Grains:Soak the whole grains in a cup with around 2,5 dl cold water. Put a lid on and leave it in the fridge for at least 24 hours.Dough:Dissolve the yeast in the honey. Add water, the soaked grains with the remaining water, malt and sourdough. Finely chop the stale bread and leave it to soak in the mixture for around 15-30 mins. Add the salt, dissolve and start adding the flour, little by little. When the dough is starting to come together, although still very sticky, you may precede to knead it with your hands. At this point you usually need to knead some more flour into the dough. The dough doesn't need a lot of kneading, since it's a pretty tight rye bread, around 5-10 mins, just so it's still sticky, but still is dry enough to keep a shape.
Put the dough in a greased container and cover it up with a wet tablecloth. Leave it to proof for at least 12 hours i the fridge. I usually just leave mine over night.When proofed, put it in a 3 litre bread baking pan. Sprinkle oatmeal, seeds or nothing at all on top of it and score it. Cover the pan up with a wet tablecloth and leave it to rise at room temperature until it has risen to fill the pan completely - this process usually takes up to a couple of hours.Bake at 180 degrees celcius. Bake for two hours, gently remove the baking pan and put the loaf in for another half an hour.
Leave it to cool on a tray and keep your fingers to yourself until the next day.
clazar123's picture

Is it possible to achieve a windowpane with just stretch and folds?

I don't have a single technique when I make bread. Sometimes I hand knead,mostly I use a mixer, occasionally I will use a stretch and fold technique. I haven't used S&F often enough, I guess, to answer my own question so I am polling the collective here.

If you answer "yes", please describe the type of S&F you use.

1.Some people use the concept to mix the dough from the start (as in Richard Bertinet's video  on mixing a high hydration dough), or a

2. French technique (sounds like "frisee"-can't remember the correct word) while kneading that stretches the dough with each push of the hands. I saw it first on Julia Child years ago with a guest baker.

3. Another Julia method-Julia would also hold the dough over her shoulder like an ax and swing it down onto the table-BAM-She described this as a method she witnessed in Eastern Europe-in effect stretching the dough on the downswing. She'd then fold it over and wind up again for another hit.  Hilarious and loud but actually effective. A strong kneading surface is needed!

4.Other descriptions I have seen for using all S&F are 3-4 S&F done spaced out during bulk fermentation.

So can a windowpane (on a dough made with AP for ease of description) be achieved with S&F and if so, what method?

letrec's picture

Sourdough Buckwheat Rye Flax Blueberry Muffins

I've been baking a lot of sourdough as of late, and since I'm stubborn I don't ever refrigerate any of the starter and maintain it exclusively on the counter. While this lends to a vigorous starter it also encourages (ok, demands!) frequent baking, or you're going to either end up with the starter that ate your kitchen, or be exceptionally wasteful by refreshing the starter so frequently.

I have a little bit of a sweet tooth, and love blueberries so this was a natural next step.

I have adapted this recipe from this recipe at Sourdough Home:

I made some adjustments as to my taste and added a crunchy Streusel topping!


1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup oil (EVOO works great here)
1 cup 100% rye sourdough starter at 100% hydration!
2tbsp of Greek Yogurt (adds a little more acidity, good fat)

1/2 cup whole rye or wheat flour if you must
1/2 cup of organic buckwheat flour
1/3 cup of ground flax seeds
1 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup sugar or fructose
3/4 cup frozen blueberries

Streusel Topping

2 cups pecans or walnuts (8 oz.)
½ cup packed light brown sugar (I combined molasses and caster sugar)
⅓ cup old fashioned rolled oats
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. salt
2 Tbs. vegetable oil (I used more EVOO, though next time I may be decadent and use coconut oil)


Preheat oven to 425F. (I use a convection oven, so actual temp was 400F)

Prepare streusel by combining nuts, sugar, oats, cinnamon and salt in food processor and pulsing a few times until a coarse mixture is achieved. Slowly drizzle in oil taking care to stop before creating a paste. The ideal consistency will be damp, but very crumbly. Set aside.

Combine dry ingredients in small bowl and then stir in blueberries. Combine wet ingredients in medium bowl.
Add dry ingredients to wet ones.

Place muffin cups inside tin and oil and dust them.
Oil a large dough or ice cream scoop and spoon batter into cups.
Sprinkle a liberal amount of Streusel topping over each cup such that you can no longer see the batter.

Bake at 425 for about 20 minutes or 16 min for convection

Allow to cool for 5 minutes in tin and then transfer to rack to cool to room temperature!
This should yield about a dozen full sized muffins. Enjoy!

theresasc's picture

Questions from a new bread baker

I am very new to baking bread, and I have some questions!  Bear with the strange mixing of measurements, I am still trying to get the hang of weight vs. volumn.

I am using the first recipe in Floyd's book, and am tweaking it a bit:

Poolish:  30 grams whole wheat flour, 1/8 tsp. instant yeast, 1/4 water - let sit overnight

Dough:  225 grams AP flour, 45 grams whole wheat flour, 1 tsp sugar, 3/4 + 1/8 tsp instant yeast, 3/4 cup of flour - mix and let autolyse 30 min.  Mix in the poolish and 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt.  I was using my KA to knead the first few loaves of bread that I made, but decided I was missing out on the fun of having my hands in there, so I have been using the french flold technique to knead.  I have found that I have to keep my hands very wet while doing the french fold and while the dough does get stretchy and sort of smooth, there are still little tears/blisters in the dough.  Is this right?  The dough does not behave like this using just AP flour, but the addition of the WW seems to really change things up.  What should the dough feel and look like?

Now onto the stretch and fold questions:  How many times do you do it?  I have read that you just do it once every 30 minutes during bult ferment, I have read that you do it 6 or 7 times every 30 minutes.  Whats up with that??  Is that the difference from making bread with commercial yeast vs. natural yeast?  The more I read, the more confusing things get.

Onto crust:  why does it blister?  The bread made with AP flour did not have surface blisters, yet the bread with some WW in does.  Is it the flour or my techniques? 

Thanks for any help that folks can give me.

Okay, I baked and here is what it looks like, ugly but tasty.

 The blisters are there on the crust again - next shot is the crumb

Shiao-Ping's picture

Sourdough from Taipei

The Setting:       Stormy Queensland rain (Cyclone Oswald passing through)

                             Fresh greenery against a thick grey sky

                             Cozy tearoom

Time:                  Mid-morning

Music:                 “The Ground,” Tord Gustavsen


The world out there is blowy but inside my tearoom the air is sweet.



A bird came to visit on the railing outside:



My baking has not stopped. Such a delight to be able to create:



This bread was my very first sourdough baked in Taiwan. My family and I spend a lovely Christmas and New Year holiday in Taipei. My oven is Bosch there. I used no steaming mechanism. Spray can did the trick for me on this bread. I did not aim to make a perfect bread, just a bread.



We thoroughly enjoyed the bread, but I had no hesitation to put my starter away. On holidays these days I prefer not to spend too much time in the kitchen. Maison Kayser and Frédèric Lalos Bakery are both in Taipei and their breads are very good standards.

During this last trip to Taiwan, I made an effort to go to A-Li-Shan Mountain in the central island region to see the ancient red cypress trees. The oldest alive in Taiwan is estimated to be 2,700 years old.  Look at the stats below:



Age: approx. 2,700 years old

Height: 43 meters

Circumference: 20 meters

Altitude: 2,350 meters


There are about 20 of these ancient giant red cypresses, ages ranging from 1000 to 2700 years old.  The Japanese left them untouched at the turn of the last century because back then these trees were already hollow in the middle and were considered to have no economic values.  The Japanese ran a massive logging industry in Taiwan during their 50 years of occupation before the end of the Second World War.  The red cypresses were shipped back to Japan for use in their temples and their Emperor’s residences.  

It was not possible to take a good shot at the giant tree; I apologize for the poor quality.  It was very early morning and the sky was still dark blue.  As the morning progressed, I was able to take beautiful shots of the mountains and the sea of clouds:






The holiday is now over.  My daughter is in San Francisco on an exchange program for the first half of the year, and my son is in full swing preparing for a medicine exam in March.  Christmas tree was folded and put away for another year:




BobS's picture

Simple Baker Trick: Proofing Box

Flour, water, salt, time, and temperature. The right combinations of those variables, plus technique, make good bread.

Along with a few simple tricks.

I've learned how to make pretty good bread from this forum. This is the first of a set of posts describing a few of the things I've learned. Maybe they will help somebody new.

Here in New Hampshire temperature can be a problem. Like this week when the overnight low was -6F and the temperature in our kitchen was 55F. Yeast growth is really dependent on temperature and there is a happy zone in the 70-80F range. A proofing box gives me the control over temperature. There are several threads on proofing boxes on TFL. and there are commercial products. I made one, mostly with stuff I had around the house.  It was one of the things that made a big difference in my ability to make consistent bread. Here it is in pictures.

I started with a cooler we had in the basement:

Any size will do, as long as it is 'big enough'. Then I added a 15W light bulb and socket, and a thermostat. Nothing fancy, just shoved it all in there. The extension cord coming out of the box is flat, rather than round, so it is not too badly squished. The light bulb could probably be smaller wattage. You do want it some distance away from the thermostat.

That's Earlene, my starter Fred's love child, bubbling in the middle after a warm and pleasant overnight stay. The thermostat is a Lux Pro PSP300. I got mine from Amazon:'s a little expensive, but it works well. I think their WIN100 model, which is a little cheaper, would work too.

I can also fit a proofing bucket for bulk fermentation in there:

Cambro buckets work very well for bulk fermentation. Make sure you get yours from a local restaurant supply rather than a 'bread enthusiast' web site: mine cost $6.

That's Hamelman's Five-Grain Levain, more or less, in there.

I usually retard my sourdoughs, for better flavor and scheduling. But sometimes I do the final proofing in the box. For that I built a little stand that lets me stack bread pans or bannetons.

The box is tight enough and the loaves are wet enough to create a nice humid atmosphere inside without the need to introduce additional humidity.

The thermostat works for both heating and cooling. Sometimes I use it to control a little portable electric cooler (which doesn't have a thermostat) when the fridge is full and I need to retard some dough.

Bread runs on its own schedule. A proofing box help it conform, to some extent, with yours.


Floydm's picture

Raspberry Cream Cheese Braid

My fight against scurvy (not really) and the wintertime blues (really) by baking fruity things continued today.  This time I went for raspberries and made a Raspberry Cream Cheese Braid using the Blueberry Cream Cheese Braid formula on the site.

 Very very good, as expected!