The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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SLKIRK's picture





proth5's picture

Whole Wheat Croissants

I find that spring cold fronts are very inspirational for my baking projects. One just blew in to the Front Range causing a rare full rainy day and another day of almost cold weather. So, since I was stuck at home waiting for various repair people, I thought of my long ago vow to try to make whole wheat croissants.

I decided to use the formula from “Advanced Bread and Pastry” (AB&P) for hand mixed croissants with poolish with the following modifications:

  1. All of the final dough flour would be freshly ground white wheat flour,

  2. I would make a liquid levain instead of a poolish,

  3. I would add one egg yolk – and in a fit of laziness, I just put the yolk into the water container after zeroing the scale and added water to the original formula weight

  4. I did the mix in the spiral, 0:03 on first and 0:09 on second, and

  5. I would use 12 ounces of roll in butter.

Easy. So, not technically 100% whole wheat, but my thought process was that I didn’t want to risk any over ripening and subsequent gluten degradation in the pre ferment.

The inspiration for the egg yolk came from the AB&P formula for whole wheat croissants which contains a very much lower percentage of whole wheat than my version.

Inserted into this adventure was an altercation with my camera – its battery fully charged – when my computer failed to “load the driver.” Cosmic payback for me not taking it on vacation? Ever. Probably. But I muscled my way past the problem. And here are the pictures.

Here’s the cream of the crop:

Here are some nice shoulders and the little faux Danish thing I make with the scraps. For those of you who don’t make croissants, there can be a lot of scrap. I take this and patch it into strips, egg wash, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, and twist and curl the things up into something like snail Danish. If I could sell stuff, I couldn’t sell these, but they make nice samples.

The whole wheat version did not generate as much oven spring as the white flour versions, but that’s pretty fair lamination if I do say so myself. They were fully proofed (5 hours at room temperature.)

The whole wheat does affect the taste but they are very delicate and did have the “when I bite into it little shards of crust fly everywhere” quality of their white flour cousins.

The dough handled well, and if anything was a little easier on the final roll out than the white flour version, but it did have a good amount of resistance. If I do this again, I would mix the dough just a tad longer and see if that made a difference.

On the formula formatting side of my life – this stuff is harder than it looks. Not so much on the mathematics side, but what do you do when you get a formula when the baker has omitted, well, just about all the information you need?  You do your best and then you ask, that’s what. But as a training exercise one needs to document every little assumption. This takes me back to my “fixed bid project statement of work” days. Bad, BAD flashback!

Well, this little marmot has popped up for too long…

Happy Baking!

dabrownman's picture

Italian Style YW Pizza

This is the same dough we used for the Italian YW buns we will have tonight with put Italian hamburgers.  The only difference was this half of the dough was retarded overnight.  Here was the bun post if you want to know the method and recipe.


This YW dough had parmesan, pecorino, garlic, sun dried tomato. re-hydrated dried minced onion with a mix of fresh herbs (rosemary, sage and basil) for the add ins – our usual pizza mix.  The flour portion was a mix of farro, spelt rye and wheat with 22% whole grains.


But this dough was way more wet than our usual pizza crust and, as a result, more extensible yet still strong.  We loved to work with this dough.  We were able to get it very thin without rolling, the thinnest yet.  Since it was not sour my wife loved it saying it is the best yet.


We had some fresh mozzarella, shredded mozzerella, parmesan and pecorino for th4e cheeses.  Fresh red and green onions, red bell pepper, crimini, button and shiitake mushrooms for the veggies , hot Italian pepperoni for the sausages and fresh basil and sage  for the herb- also a nice mix.  Lucy made her killer pizza sauce. too


I have to agree with my wife.  This is the best pizza crust t date.  We finally found one we like better than our SD Focaccia Romano recipe.   It is super thin, crisp and tasty.  This crust has a crunchy rim and there is no sag, slouch or droopy soggy mess to the slices.   You aren’t folding these up to eat unless you want to crack them.  The bottom browned beautifully on the stone


A blueberry pie seemed like a good dessert for pizza night.  It was delicious!

We baked them on parchment, on a stone heated to 500 F on the grill - our favorite way to make the best pizza that we have in our home.  We made (2) 200g  pizza crusts  from 400 g of left over dough.

If one breakfast isn't enough.... how about 2.



PetraR's picture

Today's bake in new Dutch Oven:)

I do prefer shaping Boules, it is much easier, but since my Husband bought me this Dutch Oven I gave it a go.

I also had my oblong Banneton * never used before * so that was ok.

When I use a Dutch Oven I do preheat it with the Oven, this time I forgot * oops * so I put it in for about 12 Minutes on 


I am very pleased with the outcome, of course I have not yet cut in to it because we have to finish the other loaf first. 

* I so want to see the crumb !! *



250g Mature Wheat Starter

450g Strong Bread Flour

 50g Wholemeal Flour

300g Warm Water

   8g Salt

Mixed it all up, Autolyse in Bowl for 30 Minutes, S&F  every 30 minutes for 3 hours , 15 hours bulk fermentation in the fridge, 2 hours bulk fermentation at Room temperature, shaping, final proof in Banneton for 2 hours.

30 Minutes baking in Dutch Oven with Lid on at 250C

20 Minutes baking in Dutch Oven with Lid off at 200C


I did the Crumb shot once the bread has cooled, the light was not so good.

The taste is beautiful, just a very mild Sour which we do like.










clearlyanidiot's picture

Wood oven survey.

A couple things I've been wondering about other people's wood ovens.

Is there an approximate way to measure a wood oven's efficiency?


1. Roughly how large is your oven.

2. How much wood do you burn per firing.

3. How many loaves do you bake/how much food do you cook per use.

4. How long does it take to reach baking temperature.


Rbhumbert's picture

42" Pompeii Oven - Temecula

We finally put the finishing touches, slate roof, steel doors, on our 42" Pompeii style wood fired oven.  To view a slideshow of our build goto:  



golgi70's picture

Farmer's Market Week 36 (Cracked Wheat + 70% Detmolder Rye)

Still in the process of fine tuning formulas we liked from last years markets.  This was from Week 9.  The only change made was to use a 3 build levain opposed to a 12 hour overnight levain.  I almost added some honey as well but opted to keep to fewer changes.  Next time honey will be added and the cracked wheat increased.  Then I think it'll go to the final formula books.  

I also squeezed in a 70% Detmolder Rye with 30% Sifted Whole Wheat.  1/2 of the Rye was also sifted.  I think I jumped the gun and should have given 15-20 more minutes of final proof but it doesn't detract much but for the slightly less open crumb in the center.  



Cracked Wheat


17% Levain @ 100% Hydration (70% White 30% Wheat) done over three builds.  Final build @ 78F took 3 hours



88% Hydration (does not include soaker h20)

60 %  Whole Wheat  40 % Bread Flour (11.5% protein)

2.  %  Wheat Germ, toasted

2.25 % Sea Salt

10%  Bulgar Wheat Soaked in equal weight of Hot H20 for 4 hours


20 minute autolyse with levain.  

Add soaker and salt and mix to medium gluten development.  

Bulk 3:30 with 5 folds @ :30, 1:00, 1:30, 2:10, and 2:50

Divide, preshape, rest.  Shape and proof at room temp for 1 hour and then retard 8 hours

Bake 500 steam 15 minutes, 460 vented 20-30 more



I keep forgetting to take bounty photos. Let's see:  Asparagus, fresh greens, smoked albacore, fennel, kale, spring onions, fresh eggs, broccoli, cabbage (time to make some kraut)

Cheers All




biondanonima's picture

Rehydrated starter not behaving!

So, I rehydrated some Oregon Trail starter a few days ago - I added about a teaspoon of flakes to 1 oz of room temp water, gave it a few minutes to soak and then added half an ounce of flour.  After 12 hours at room temp (around 75), I added another half ounce of flour, and I seemed to be in business!  I gave it one more 1:1:1 feeding and it doubled after 12 hours, so I split it and planned to feed the two halves at room temp for a couple more days before storing in the fridge (I was planning to keep half at 100% and reduce half to 50% over a couple of days).  Anyway, since the split, I have had NO more doubling!  Both halves bubble a bit, but neither rises at all.  I put one jar in the oven with the light on (raising the temp to almost 90 degrees) to see if that would help, and nada.  Is this to be expected, or do I have a problem?  

ananda's picture

The New Bread and Roses Bakery

I know, I know!   I haven't posted for over 8 months.   I could say I've been very busy, which is true, but isn't everybody?   So, I have little in the way of excuses.   As you are about to read, however, I have recently moved into a proper unit and set up a bakery, so, any posts would really be about out-and-out commercial production, and that is really beyond what this great website seeks to offer.

A quick catch-up.   In September we attended the Alnwick Food Festival again , where my colleague Ann Cudworth and I demonstrated plaiting of a six-strand plait as an opener to the cookery demonstrations at the Food Festival.   Some of you may remember that Codruta came over to work with me for the Powburn Show event in August 2012   For this event I had another visitor from Romania with similar aspirations to open a bakery.   I am not sure whether Adrian Serban is still posting on TFL, but he was a very welcome guest and apprentice for a week in September.

After the hard graft of the food festival, I attended a couple of days at a Cheese Festival held at the National Trust's Cragside House in October.   It is a lovely venue although there was a bit of a lack of cheese vendors there on the days I attended, so trade was pretty quiet.

I have continued to attend Farmers' Markets at Hexham twice a month with Nigel, and at Alnwick every month, plus slightly more sporadic attendance at Newcastle Farmers' Market.   You can see the schedule upcoming on my website here:   Hexham continues to improve for me, whilst the Alnwick Farmers' Market continues to under-perform and many of us traders have either ceased attending, or seriously lowered our expectations.   Disappointment is a word I try to avoid using, but in this case, it is hard to think of a better word to describe my feelings about this.   Christmas markets at Newcastle, and particularly Hexham, were packed events with great sales achieved.

In the new year I did a few bits of teaching, attended an exciting event in Morpeth to promote the business at "Meet the Maker, Meet the Buyer" event sponsored by the County Council.   After that Alison took me to the Lake District for a lovely birthday retreat for a couple of nights during February half term.   After that, everything changed!

Our longer term plan to site a bakery at Hedgeley Services in our village of Powburn fell through when the business owner had to face up to a bill of £30,000 in order to upgrade the electricity to accommodate my electric deck oven...more on this in a bit!   So, just after that bombshell, news came through that the country house where all my baking equipment was in store had been sold and we had to move the kit fast!   So, rather than spend money moving it and storing it, we decided to go into production immediately...well, once Alison and I returned from our holiday to Crete at Easter.   So we rented an industrial unit in Alnwick from late in March.   You can see a few pictures here of how we began to kit it out.





I have been carefully sourcing equipment for some time now, with the seriously limited financial resources available.   I managed to buy a 2-deck electric oven, Tom Chandley's ever-reliable Compacta, along with a good steel table and a large double sink unit complete with hand-wash basin, from a colleague I used to teach in Leeds, who is now a bakery manager for a very successful company who have just expanded north from Yorkshire to Durham.   The oven is fantastic, and is producing far superior bread to that I could make on the wood-fired oven at home which was so under-capacity for the typical quantity of bread I was always hoping to bake.   More thoughts on this to follow.   This is the oven:



To the side of the oven. the white painted door hides a proofing area.   There is no steam facility with the oven, although I could no doubt fit this if I had some money!   I am using a steam-cleaning machine a bit like this:

I bought a rack and 16 baking sheets, some more steel tables and most recently, a manual pastry brake made by John Hunt some time ago now.   The Hobart 20 quart sits on one side of the weighing station, and a very neat spiral mixer from Fimar is on the other side, next to the oven:


I believe this is the 32L model, designed to mix up to 25kg of dough at a time.   At this point I will just take a bit of time out to try to address a question raised by Janet Cook and Varda in a post on TFL not too long ago:   Janet's question is the 16th comment in the thread.

Ok, so I bought this mixer for £250 cash.   It has been used, but it is immaculate, and the full price machine is well over £800 plus the dreaded VAT, and any costs incurred in shipping.   So, I got a bargain.   My personal preference for spiral mixers are those with dual speed, and with a bowl rotation facility allowing you to switch from clockwise to anti-clockwise.   An "inch" button which allows you to move the bowl round very slowly to enable cleaning is also useful to say the least.   For really small dough sizes, allowing the spiral to work without the bowl rotating is extra useful.   Usually this is on the same switch which enables rotating direction to flip one way or the other.   Of course, a detachable bowl is fabulous, but uncommon in the UK, except on machines which mix capacities in excess of 100kg of dough at a time.   I don't think it is quite so rare in continental Europe to find small models with this facility.   So, my machine has NONE of these features, alas!   It rotates at 90rpm in a clockwise direction.   You cannot move the bowl or the spiral hook round in any other way; manually or with power!   BUT, it is a big but; it is built in Italy to high specifications.   So it's not going to breakdown in a hurry, touch wood.   Also, most of the doughs I am mixing are quite suited to long and gentle development, especially the Gilchesters flours which are wholly unsuited to second speed intensive mixing on the spiral.   The machine mixes the soft white dough, the weak Gilchesters' Farmhouse, and the somewhat more difficult Five Grain and Seeded Sourdough batches.   A good scraping down early on is all that is required.   I have even managed to use it to mix my 100% rye paste....which is just great, because the 12-15kg batch size I make these days is just too much to fit in the 20 quart Hobart with the paddle.   So, I am just getting by with the best that I could afford at the time.   It's very noisy, but only because it is standing on a "job-stand" rather than a proper table, and it tends to vibrate as a result.   Ok, that should cover the ground, I hope.

I also bought a 2-door Foster Retarder, which is fabulous.   It has capacity for 40 trays of product.   I tend to use half for raw product, and the other side is filled with containers of dough, retarded overnight so I can work it off as soon as I arrive for work!   These cost around £2500 re-conditioned here in the UK; we paid a lot less than that, even allowing for expensive transportation from Northampton to Northumberland.


Alison and I were joined in Crete this year by her son Daniel and his girlfriend Grace.   We spent a few days in the heat in Chania, where I seemed capable of doing little except sleep, on account of having worked so hard before going away on holiday.   We went on to Anatolika, where we stayed last Easter, and in 2010 when I made this post:   Once back in the UK it has been a non-stop business rollercoaster, of course.   I just don't have time to post about this sort of thing, I am very sorry.   I know some of you will be very interested in this, and you are welcome to keep in contact with messaging on TFL, or on my website or through Twitter.   And, anyway, all my baking now goes beyond the scope of what Floyd set the website up for.   I have often felt my posts here strayed away from the purpose of the site, but am grateful for Floyd for generously allowing me to post, and to all of you who have commented so positively over the years.

I will still be about, but am unlikely to be able to post on any regular basis.   But, it's not hard to keep up with what I am doing here in the North of England.   The downside to the new bakery: I have a 20 minute car journey at some horrible hour to get to work, and I have to pay out a lot of money in rent every month for the premises.   Everything else is a positive.   We have regained our kitchen!   I cannot believe how big it is now I have taken all the bakery kit out!   I don't have to go outside in the rain and suffer abuse from my neighbour for chopping wood and firing the oven!   I don't have to bake on an oven of massive under-capacity.   I really like the deck oven; product quality has improved massively.   Some may be surprised to read this; others may even think the deck oven does not produce really authentic traditional bread.   Well, the heat is retained in the ceramic bottom of the oven and there is a degree of radiated heat from all round, especially given there is a separate setting for top heat.   The breads bake directly on the heat source, and I set each one carefully with the peel.   So, there it is; no more hard work deal with logs and getting dirty firing the oven.   No down-time firing and settling the oven before you can start baking.   One hour to get the oven hot, and that's it...away you go.   One important point here, however.   Deck ovens operate at 32 amps per deck; they are expensive to run, where wood can be much cheaper if you have a good source, and your oven burns efficiently.

To close, here's a few photographs of the bakery as it is now; not quite finished, but approved by the Food Hygiene people, and we are up and operating, and have been for around a month now.





Very best wishes to you all, and, Happy Baking!


Bob Marley's picture
Bob Marley

Talk about THE EAR

   Baked inside of a roasting bag.