The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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tkarl's picture

Long-time breadmaker here -- I've lost my touch. Please help

Me:  I always use a breadmaker and I ALWAYS make whole wheat.  I bought the original DAK Breadmaker when it first came out.  I had tweaked my DAK WW recipe so that the rising bread nearly kissed the glass top every single time.  Then I bought an Oster about 3 years ago primarily because they had a WW recipe that did not require any added Gluten flour.  The Oster worked fabulously.  That is the good news.  My problem now is that I cannot repeat my successes now no matter what I do.  Now, Every single loaf comes out to about 1/2 of the expected size -- in BOTH Bread Makers.

Ok, to provide more specifics:  1)  My room temperature is now (Chicago winter) is set to 57 degrees.  Not expecting things to work right because of this, I have warmed the breadmakers, the flour, the water, the yeast -- everything.  2)  I've proofed my yeast.  According to Red Star, 1/2C water + 1t sugar + 2 1/4t yeast (all at 115-120 degrees) + 10 minutes should raise the volume from 1/2C to 1C.  It does.  All my jarred yeast stays in the freezer.  3)  I've created a nice warm environment by putting 1/2 gallon jars of hot tap water outside the BM.  Then I put blankets around the whole thing plus a warming pad on top.  All this was of course is removed when the baking starts.  4) I am very careful when measuring.  I use the same measuring cups & technique I always have.

Just recently, I've also began milling my own flour.  Today, I thought to use store-bought WW flour to see if the milling was causing an issue.  I fired up BOTH BMs and they now both have 1/2 loaves in them.  I'm at my wits' end here.

What has happened to my bread-making capability?  Assistance appreciated.  Oh, and this is my 1st post here.

Cory_v's picture

First attempt at pizza

The dough is from here. But I only had white four so... wasn´t really country dough. Made the sauce myself which turned out pretty good. Got the sauce recipe from here. I made a nasty mistake with the dough though. Lets just say the outside of the pie crust ended up much thicker then the middle. Live and learn I suppose. Also, I´m stuck with a gas stove which doesn´t get that hot to begin with, but also the door doesn´t completely close. Not ideal for pizza as you can imagine. No pizza stone either, just the bottom of a cookie sheet. Yummy pizza regardless! (Although I will not be getting that particular peppered salami again!)

squarehead's picture

Practice and progress


Hey all I just wanted to post a couple pics of a daily sourdough that I've been practicing. The recipe and shaping advice came from a fellow TFL user and I am quite happy with the results. The bread is 20%whole wheat, 70% hydration, developed using Stretch n Folds, and is shaped, then retarded overnight and baked cold in a hot dutch oven at 450 with lid on for 13 min and then lid off for 25 more min. 



Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

Different Starters = Different End Result Flavour?

Been wondering this for some time now.  Do different starters produce different flavoured loaves?

Let's say I have 3 different 100% hydration culture/starters.  One is fed with all rye flour, the other is fed with all WW flour, and the third is fed with white bread flour.  If I was to bake three loaves, all using the exact same formula except using a different starter in each, would all three come out with noticeably different flavours?  Let's say the formula calls for a small amount of starter, like only a tbsp in the levain.  Total weight of final dough being 2000g.


Domestic WannaBee's picture
Domestic WannaBee

New to baking .... a question?

I am really new to baking bread however a few YouTube videos spurred my desire to pull out my Kitchen Aide and give it a shot. The first attempt was amazing ... the second, I believe I switched the ingredients around and ended up with 1/2 the sugar and double the yeast. The bread kept growing in my oven and actually burned on the upper oven coils ... not so good lol ....


Anyway, my question is this ..... I bought instant yeast for me previous recipes however I am finding more and more recipes I wish to try that state active yeast ..... can I always switch out the yeast? Are they interchangable? Same amounts? Thanks in advance for any response .... they will be appriciated!

grigothirty's picture

Cooking temperature


I have a question regarding cooking time, in general.

Let's say you have a rectangular loaf that cooks at temp X for Y minutes that has great quality and characteristics/color.

If you double the recipe and keep the same shape of the loaf, how would you expect the X and Y to change in order to achieve the same quality and characteristics/color?

PaddyL's picture

Mini Oven

Do you really have a very small oven?  If you do, then maybe you can help me.  My own oven (large) kicked the bucket, and now I'm using a small countertop convection oven and I need to bake some bread, one loaf, obviously.  Can anyone help?

Lap's picture

Baking Steel vs Stone for Sourdough Bread Baking

I recently purchased a King Arthur baking steel with the thought to replace my baking stone for both pizza and bread baking.

How does it perform with breads? I typically create steam in my oven cavity for the crust, by sometimes placing a tray of water or using a sprayer. Does this effect the steel?


Littlebrooklyn's picture

Oops this didn't turn out right

I bought a banneton last week and tried it for the first time today.  I was pleased that the dough turned out of the banneton okay as I had expected it to stick, however I'm not sure why I have no oven spring, in fact when I slashed the top it was quite difficult as there seemed to be a crust on the top, maybe I didn't cut it deep enough or something, I'm not sure, but I don't think it's supposed to look like this.  I am sure it wasn't under or over proved so have no idea what I may have done wrong.


Antilope's picture

CHP Escort for 165-year-old Dough

From the Fox TV 40 website in Sacramento, CA


The Mother Dough has landed in Vacaville, complete with CHP (California Highway Patrol) escort.

First cultured in 1849, the Mother Dough is the sourdough starter created by Isidore Boudin. According to Boudin Bakery, each loaf they make uses a portion of the Mother Dough.

Part of the Mother Dough was delivered Wednesday morning to the new Boudin SF store at the Nut Tree. The dough traveled from the main bakery in San Francisco to Vacaville with a CHP escort.

This portion of the sourdough starter will be used in loaves baked at the new Boudin location.


Vacaville Reporter 02/05/2014 02:03:53 PM PST

'Mother dough' arrives at Vacaville's newest bakery