The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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isand66's picture

Mocha Multi-Grain Sourdough

Chocolate flavored coffee.....what could be wrong with using some in a bread you ask?  Nothing of course, so why not use it in a soaker as well ?  That is exactly what I ended up doing.  I normally leave the grains soaking for about 30 minutes to an hour, but in this case I left it over night for around 24 hours and the soaker grains sucked up all the coffee.  When I mixed the final dough I decided to make this a very moist, high hydration dough so I didn't cut back on the additional coffee used and the end result as you will see was the most moist bread I've made to date that almost melts in your mouth.

I used some rolled oats, cracked wheat and malted rye berries for the soaker and for the final dough I used durum, dark rye, white rye, European style flours and some roasted wheat germ.  I added some barbecued potatoes and pistachio oil as well.

In order to make the soaker I used 285 grams of hot water and mixed it with the ingredients and let sit at room temperature for 24 hours.

For the starter, I refreshed my standard AP 65% hydration white starter the night before and used most of it in this bake.


100 grams Rolled Oats

100 grams Cracked Wheat

50 grams Malted Rye Berries

285 grams Hot Mocha Coffee

Mix coffee in a bowl with other ingredients and let sit covered at room temperature for 24 hours.


71 grams Seed (Mine is 65% AP Flour Starter)

227 grams AP Flour

151 grams Water (85 - 90 degrees F.)

Mix seed with water to break up for a few seconds and then mix in flour until the starter form a smooth dough consistency.  Put it in a lightly oiled bowl and loosely cover and leave at room temperature for at least 10 hours.  The starter should double in volume.  Put the starter in the refrigerator for up to 1-2 days or use it immediately.

Main Dough


425 grams Starter from above (all of the starter)

100 grams Durum Semolina Flour (KAF)

100 grams White Rye Flour

100 grams Pumpernickel Flour or Dark Rye Flour

150 grams European Style Flour (KAF)  (Sub Bread Flour if you don't have this)

50 grams Roasted Wheat Germ

370 grams Mocha Coffee (90 degrees F.)

14 grams Sea Salt (or table salt)

209 grams Mashed Roasted Potatoes

10 grams Pistachio Oil (substitute any oil desired)


I mixed  the flours together with all the coffee except for 50 grams and let them autolyes for 30 minutes.    I then added the levain, potatoes, oil and the soaker and the rest of the coffee with the salt and mixed on speed #1 for 1 minute and #2 for 4 minutes.  I then did a stretch and fold, rested the dough uncovered for 10 minutes.  I then did another stretch and fold, covered the dough and let it rest for 10 minutes.  I did one more stretch and fold and put it in a lightly oiled bowl for 2 hours.  I then put it in the fridge overnight.

The next day I let the dough sit out at room temperature for 1.5 hours.  After 1.5 hours I formed it into loaves and put them in floured bannetons and let them rise covered for 2 hours.

Score the loaves as desired and prepare your oven for baking with steam.

I then baked on my oven stone with steam at 450 degrees until both loaves were golden brown and reached an internal temperature of 200 - 210 degrees F.

I had to bake this bread for almost 50 minutes since it was so moist and the final dough came out with an excellent crust and moist crumb.

Please visit my other blog for my older posts at

Crumb Close-up
Janetcook's picture

Baking Stone Alternatives???

I am currently baking in my garage using a counter top oven that is too small to hold a 'conventional' store bought baking stone.

I have read many threads here where people recommend using un-glazed quarry tiles for baking stones due to the affordability of them and that they can be used in just about any size of oven.

I have gone to both Home Depot and Lowes in search of them and the only things that come close are marble and travertine.  Everything else is either ceramic or glazed tile.

Can travertine be used as a baking stone? Does it fall under the category of a quarry tile?  (I am not sure what the exact definition of quarry tile is other than material that is excavated out of a quarry......)  It is used extensively in building large objects :-) but I can't find anything that states that it will hold up to baking at high temps. without breaking.  

Any suggestions are appreciated!


winkie's picture

Nothing fancy, it's only a never fail basic white recipe I need

I have a yearning for a  breadmachine  basic white sandwich bread recipe that will rise so high that it'll will crack the window in my Cuisinart CBK 200 bread maker. I've been producing  pitiful loaves of bread that cave in on top half way down in my 5.5" deep bread pan. The recipe I'm soliciting must be in the 3 cups of flour range. Once I get a proven recipe, then I can get into which of the variables is causing the problem, or problems. I checked my yeast this morning, I was really impressed how it tripled in 12 minutes. I know my flour is good, the milk or water I use is okay, but my salt from .75 to 2.25 teaspoons may need adjusting. I've tried everything from 2 teaspoons to 3 tablespoons of sugar which also failed to provide much of a thrill. Crisco, butter, margarine, vegetable oil and no fat at all have been equally acceptable for taste and zero world shaking for height. 


Please, no theoretical stuff with cockamamie speculations, I need a never fail, tried and true recipe. I'm dying to see a dome on my bread in the shape of the rotunda in Washington, D.C.. My sister-in-law's opinion is that men who bake bread need to see a psychiatrist.

That's not the kind of help  I'm soliciting.

mikeone's picture

My Bread and buns

My Bread & Buns.

This is my best bread I have ever made.

This is what you would need to make it.

One large bowl one jug.



1 ½ Lbs white bread flour

1 Tablespoon vital wheat flour

1 teaspoon Xanthan gum

1 ½ teaspoon quick yeast

2 teaspoons of sugar

1 ½ oz butter

4 cups of milk

1 ½ salt

2 Eggs

This bread is what you would buy in your bakery.

Soft and really tasty.

I use a stand mixer no kneading just shape and let it double in size.


In your large bowl put in your flour, vital wheat flour,

xanthan gum, yeast ,sugar, salt.


In your jug put in milk, butter and put this in microwave for

1 ½ mins beat eggs in to this if finger hot.

Add this to your mixer in three parts not all at a time.

Mix on setting 3 for about 4 mins.

Place on floured bored shape let rise about 30 mins

or doubled in size


bake in oven on gas 6 buns about 25 30 mins bread about 40 45 mins


















eat.bread's picture

New Oven

Hello wise bread bakers.

We are in the market for a new oven and would LOVE your advice on good, general use ovens that are especially friendly to baking artisinal breads. 


What's your favorite oven?!




freerk's picture

'Roti Durian Belanda' - sweet breakfast rolls with soursop filling

Blu d'a Mare

For the last leg of my recent holiday in Indonesia, I was in Lombok, or to be more specific; the Gili Islands; a threesome of small coral islands north-west of Lombok, with Gili Trawangang being the most developed island of the three.


The locals are descendants of Sulawesi fishermen (Bugis) mixed in with the 'local' Sasak from nearby Lombok.

There are no cars, no police and no dogs on Gili Trawangang, and all (!) cats have funny tails.

The art of snorkeling is practiced here by simply sticking your head under any water you can find.

Donkeys rule the streets by local ordinance, no motorized vehicles are allowed on land.

I spent my time at Blu d'Amare. A wonderful  small resort with trattoria, right on the beach, run by an Italian couple. Moreno, the man about the house, takes out his boat early in the morning to go fishing. The same tuna he wrestles out of the water bare handed, is in the carpaccio on your plate that same afternoon.

On top of that they bake their own bread, which was the reason I decided to book with them in the first place!



Blu d'aMare

To thank the lady of the manor Sandra, her hubby Moreno and their staff, I have been busy coming up with a sweet breakfast roll in their honor. I made my version of 'Roti Maros' from Sulawesi - basically an enriched sweet jam-filled bun - and replaced the durian filling with soursop jelly. The 'durian belanda' (=soursop) is considered to be a for whimps by the locals, so if you want to be brave, use the real thing :-) But don't say I didn't warn you when you do! It also works well with any other jam or fruit in season.

Durian Belanda 

A Dutch person is called a 'Belanda' in Indonesia. It literally means "Holland". But just like with the word 'Bakra' in Surinam, another former Dutch colony,  it has a teasingly derogatory connotation when used by the locals.

That probably explains why there is a fruit named after the Dutch in Indonesia. The 'Durian Belanda', also known to the rest of the world as soursop is a fruit that more or less tastes and looks like the Durian, but doesn't come with that one thing this 'king of fruits' is known for and probably cursed over by many a Dutch colonizer when the time of the year would come around that the (up to 3 kg!) ripe durians would fall to the ground...


Low hanging fruit

In the middle of the night a man travels from Makassar all the way to Tana Toraja, Sulawesi. After about half an hour on the road, the bus comes to a screeching halt. The driver shuts off the engine, and, turning on his chair, faces his passengers with the same blank stare he has been using to negotiate the treacherous moonlit Indonesian roads. 

Without discussion the passengers start drawing their wallets. Some throw it at the driver. He picks them out of the air like low hanging fruit. A few walk to the front, fork out some rupiahs, and go back to their seats without muttering as much as a word. 

The driver squints in the dark and scans the bus. The man has instinctively reached for his wallet by now, albeit with an overtly puzzled look on his face. By the time he gets it out, the driver has slammed the door of the bus shut on his way out, leaving the man startled. Is this a stick up? Or just more government officials to be paid for services never rendered? 

Daniel from Makale

Daniel from Makale, who has been fast asleep with his mouth wide open at the window seat next to the man, wakes up. "Ah, Maros?" he mutters, with sleepy disappointment. He tugs on his make shift pillow, closes his eyes, opens his mouth and dozes off again. 

The man watches the sleeping Daniel as if to find some sort of proof in the features of this young man's face that he has been making this journey many times before. Then he carefully leans over to try and see what is going on outside. 

The door hisses open. The driver is back and carries a stack of white boxes. He is throwing the same blank stare around. He squints at the man leaning over Daniel. 

The sweet smell of freshly baked bread rolls through the bus. Wafts of warm sweet dough, butter, caramelized sugar together with something... undefined. By the look on the man's face it is beyond disturbing. The slow smell with a pungent punch makes the man's nose curl up, adding horror to the bewilderment already present in his eyes. 

Just about when that nasty, remotely fruity overtone of odor curls itself around the pleasant smell of freshly baked bread and starts choking it to death, Daniel from Makale wakes up with a jolt.

"Roti Maros!" he shouts into the man's armpit.

He aptly wriggles his way out of the chair before the man even gets a chance to get out of his way  and starts pleading with the driver. Passengers come to the front to collect their white boxes. Daniel gets off the bus, pointing his finger at the driver, not to go anywhere without him. 

By now, the evil stench, clearly emanating from the white boxes being passed around, has squeezed the life out of any association with freshly baked goods. Instead the entire bus smells of almonds, turpentine, rotten onion and size 15 gym socks after Polish Jesus' protégé Klecko and his treadmill are done with them, all at the same time.

Roti Maros 

Daniel from Makale comes back with a white box of his own. The driver shouts at him. Daniel from Makale shouts back and sits down next to the man with a big grin on his face. 


He opens the box. There are ten soft sweet white buns in there. Neatly stacked in two rows of five. A snug fit. Daniel from Makale takes out two buns, shreds them apart and offers one to the man. 

The man has managed to take control of his curling nose by now. No one in the bus seems phased by the horrid smell but him. Instead, big grins have appeared on all sleepy travelers' faces, and there is animated chatter as every one digs into their 'Roti Maros'. The man takes the offer.


 "Apa yang bau?" The man asks Daniel. What is that smell?

Daniel from Makale laughs. He takes a big bite from his roll. A brown glob of jam oozes out.


"Ah!" The man says. "That explains a lot"

Roti Durian Belanda

(sweet breakfast rolls with a soursop jelly filling)

for the dough

375 gr / 13.2 oz lukewarm milk

115 / 4 oz gr butter

100 gr / 3.5 oz sugar

12 gr / 0.4 salt

2 eggs

± 812 gr / 28.6 oz all purpose flour

7 gr / 0.2 oz yeast

for the soursop jelly

370 ml soursop juice (can)

425 gr / 15 oz jam sugar (with pectin)

for decoration (optional)

powdered sugar

a little water

maple sugar


making the dough

Put the dry ingredients in the bowl of a mixer; the flour, the yeast, the salt and the sugar. Mix well. Slightly beat the two eggs and add them to the flour, together with the lukewarm milk and the soft butter. Mix on low speed until the dough is well developed and passes the window pane test, about 9 to 12 minutes.

Oil a container and put in the dough. Cover the container tightly with cling film and let the dough rise at room temperature until it is just about doubled in bulk (±1½ hours).

making the soursop jelly

To make the soursop jelly; heat up one can of soursop juice (about 370 ml) and add 425 gram of jam sugar to it. Bring to a boil, let it simmer for a few minutes, and then take the jelly of the heat. Give it a good stir and let it cool until it sets.

If jam-sugar isn't available, use normal sugar and add the appropriate amount of pectin. If you are lucky enough to have access to fresh soursop fruits, you might find this link to make your own soursop nectar useful!

Preheat the oven to  190° C / 375° F

forming the rolls

When the dough has doubled, turn it out on a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough in pieces of about 80 grams and then shape them into balls. Cover and leave them to rest for about 10 minutes.

Make a deep dimple in the ball using your thumb.Put a moderate blob of soursop jelly in the middle and carefully wrap the dough around it, making sure to close the rolls properly, so as little as possible jelly oozes out during baking.

Cover and proof the rolls seam side down on a baking tray until they are puffy and ready for the oven, for about 20 minutes to half an hour.

Bake the rolls for about 20-25 minutes until golden brown on top, making sure to rotate the trays halfway through the bake to ensure even browning.

Dilute a little water into 3 TBS of powdered sugar and brush the tops of the rolls twice right after they come out of the oven. Dunk them in maple sugar and leave them on a rack to cool.






Freerk (BreadLab)

codruta's picture

40 Percent Caraway Rye

I'm posting this bread hoping that it will inspire other TFL members to bake it, because it is a great bread. It took me a long time till I decided to make it and now I regret that I haven't done it sooner. Full of flavor, easy to make and friendly with rye beginners, it is light and healthy and for my taste, it's perfect.

I followed mr. Hamelman's formula from "BREAD" page 194, with few modifications:

- I didn't used commercial yeast.

- I increased hydration from 68% to almost 73%.

-Instead of white flour I used a mix of 41% Malthouse Doves Farm (which is a mix of Brown Wheat Flour, Malted Wheat Flakes 15%, Rye Flour 3.6% and Malt Flour), 41% Whole Wheat Doves Farm (but I removed the big brans) and 18% white flour austrian W 480 (mehl griffig).

For those who don't have the book, eric (ehanner) posted the formula on his blog, a few years ago (here is the link to the formula).

For the quantities and details of the method I used, please visit my romanian blog (translation available), link here.



Hope you'll make this bread as soon as you can! Happy baking to all of you!


flourgirl51's picture

hamburger bun question

How many ounces of dough are used to make hamburger buns?

GSnyde's picture

Flora, Fauna & Pane

A lovely weekend on the North Coast of California. 

First, the Fauna.  Our yard seems to be the pasture of choice for our neighborhood herd of Mule Deer.  And the herd has grown in the last few weeks.  We’ve seen at least three new babies (we refer to them, collectively, as “The Fonz”).  And the young buckeroos were particularly rowdy this weekend.  After the pictures below were taken, a large group assembled not 20 yards from our porch (perhaps drawn by the smell of Focaccia buns baking; more likely by the dandelions in bloom).

Next, the Flora.  Cat and I pretend that our courtyard garden is a big pain to keep up, but the truth is we love working on it.  It’s been a while since I looked at it without making a mental list of the chores that need to be done.  But today, I was looking it over from the upstairs deck, and realized that it looks pretty great.  So I snapped a few photos.

And finally the Pane.  I saw an article in the food section of the SF Chronicle a week or two ago about the wonderful hamburgers at Bistro Don Giovanni in Napa (  The story included their recipe for Focaccia Buns.  So, with lots of good stuff around for sandwiches (leftover Salmon and Tartar Sauce; leftover chicken and barbecue sauce), I tried it out.  This is about the quickest bread I’ve made (LOTS of yeast).  It takes about two hours from mis en place to baked.  The buns are good—they are tender and tasty and hold up to saucy fillings.  I’m sure they would be great grilled for burgers.

Here’s the recipe (with my added weight measurements):

Bistro Don Giovanni’s Focaccia Hamburger Buns

Makes 12

These buns are adapted from the ones made at Bistro Don Giovanni.  The buns can be made ahead, wrapped well and frozen for a couple of weeks.

         2 1/4 cups (540 g) whole milk

         1/2 ounce (14 g) instant dry yeast, about 1 1/2 tablespoons

         1/4 cup (55 g) olive oil + more as needed

         5 1/3 cups (730 g) all-purpose flour

         4 teaspoons (25 g) salt

Instructions: Line two rimmed baking pans with parchment; set aside.

Warm milk to about 100°-110° and pour into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook.  Add the yeast and the 1/4 cup olive oil. Whisk to dissolve the yeast, then add the flour and salt. Mix on low speed until all the flour is incorporated. Increase the speed to medium, and continue to mix for about 2 more minutes.

Put the dough in an oiled bowl; turn to coat all sides with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm place to rise until almost doubled, about 30-40 minutes. The dough should barely spring back pressed gently with your fingers.

Move oven racks to the middle and bottom third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 425° (400° if using a convection oven).

Divide the dough into 12 equal portions (about 4 ounces each). Shape each portion into a ball. Arrange balls on the prepared baking sheets, spaced well apart (about 6 per sheet). Brush each ball generously with olive oil and let rest 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, oil the palm of your hand, then use your palm to gently flatten each ball until the top is somewhat flat and the balls are shaped like buns.

Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the buns are light golden brown. If needed, switch pans from top to bottom and back to front for during the last couple of minutes for more even browning.

Place the pans on a rack, brush each bun lightly with olive oil, and let cool completely before slicing. Wrap individually and freeze if not using the same day.


And may each of you have an enjoyable third fiscal quarter.

Glenn's picture

New(ish) steaming method

I offer the following hybrid of Sylvia's Magic Towels and David Snyder's contribution of the SFBI Perforated-Pie-Tin+Ice-Cubes methods.  This method has been working spectacularly well.  I bake in a small ('mini', so to speak :-) electric wall oven and have never been satisfied with steam.  Problem decisively solved.

MATERIALS: I assemble soaking-but-not-dripping wet terry towels on an oven rack, out on the counter, while the oven is heating up, as seen in the pic above.  Two small towels overlap each other on top and hang down the sides, between the outermost two rack rungs, right and left.  One larger towel (optional? haven't tested) rests folded up on top of the two smaller ones on the rack.  The smaller side towels extend down within an inch or 2 above the rack that holds the baking stone (a downsized Emil Henry), and do not hang above the stone, lest drips land on it causing loaf to become glued thereto.  Atop the rack and towels is a half-sheet dispo aluminum tray (12"x17" -- a full sheet is 17" x 24" -- but my oven is literally a 'half-oven'), into which six 1/4" holes have been drilled into the bottom at the right and left sides, about 1.5" apart, just above where the towels fold over the rungs and descend down toward the space between the edge of the stone and rack supports.  The tray is for ice cubes -- see method below.

METHOD: When the oven is fully heated, just before I transfer the dough from banneton to peel, I slide the toweled rack into the oven and close the door.  With the aluminum tray still on the counter, I place ~5 ice cubes along each side, above the drilled holes and leave it there while I de-banneton, slash and slide the loaf onto the stone.  Before closing the oven door, I set the ice-cube prepared tray on top of the towels on the top rack.  Five minutes later, I resupply the tray with 5 more cubes on each side.  Five minutes after that, I don my welder's gloves and remove the entire apparatus - rack, towels and tray - and set it in the sink.  Switch to convection bake.

RESULTS:  Until I adopted this method, I rarely, and then only spottily, achieved desired gelation of crusts.  But this method results in absolutely spectacular crusts and oven spring (above; NB: because it's a small oven, I bake a lot of miches - one big loaf to minimize oven 'on' time.  This is Hamelman's Vermont SD w/Increased Whole Grain, as a single big miche).  When I opened the door to resupply ice cubes @ 5 minutes the first time I tried this, I got minor steam burns on my hands, such was the steam still in the oven.  Indeed, it is possible that those extra cubes aren't needed for the sake of the loaf's crust, but I still add them to assure that the towels remain wet (fire hazard - see below).  This turns my oven into a 460˚F sauna.


  • WARNING:  As any that involves introducing cotton towels into a 500˚F oven, this method presents a significant fire hazard.  Make sure to keep the towels WET at all times and monitor such through oven door window.
  • I've tried hanging additional towels front and back as well, for "full enclosure", if you will.  C'est tres tres effective to be sure, but, (1) they dripped on the stone :-(, and (2) it's a bit messy to remove the apparatus and avoid sweeping the rear, wet towel over surface of the loaf.  Not worth it.  
  • Rather than fold or cut towels to allow them to fall between the rungs of the rack, I took the rack out to the shop and used a grinder to remove the right and left ends of cross-wise (underside) bars that are not needed to support the rack.  Blame my Y chromosome.  The rack is built like a Russian tank is not significantly weakened by such dismemberment.
  • Any number of variations are possible on this and I hope some TFLoafers might explore them.  For example, don't drill holes in tray but rest towels on top of it, with some boiling water poured into it?  Or no tray at all?  I had travertine tile scraps inserted between the rack supports and the right and left walls at one time, but removed them because I thought they were inhibiting oven spring by prematurely drying the crust (a small oven + big miche syndrome).  I may re-insert these now, as they'll add extra heat/thermal mass to evaporate water from towels hanging near them.

Respectfully submitted,