The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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nicodvb's picture

I'm not receiving notifications

Floyd, I'm not receiving notifications anymore after the update of TFL. I re-saved all my settings, but still I don't get any email.



evonlim's picture

weekend baking.. with all the advices given and put in practice

today's baked..Beetroot and purple carrot sourdough kamut flour with seeds n raisins/walnuts

:) thank you for all the great tips and advices. and this is the results..


PiPs's picture

Learning Heat

It feels so strange to stop for a minute and think back over the week ... It has been a blur of oven firings, dough mixing, baking and cleaning.

In some ways it has been a week of major milestones ... the FIRST bake!

... but now that I am test baking everyday in the oven it really feels down to business. I have entered into a relationship with this wood burning beast and I need to tame it.

I now often think of something that Chris Bianco said about woodfired ovens - he said they teach you about heat.

Perhaps I understand that a little more now - it's not just the feeling of radiant heat when you stick your arm in a blazing hot oven, its also about heat transfer, how it moves through objects and is stored.

The lesson probably also extends to losing most of the hairs on my right arm and burning off part of my fringe ... I am also drinking a lot more water these days :)



Though we are baking small loads in the oven it is not fully operational. A lot of water is used to build these masonry ovens and for the first few weeks that moisture needs to be pushed out of the oven so it can dry thoroughly - the oven has been literally dripping water. But everyday I see improvements in its heat storing ability and the water patches in the render are slowly drying up ... but it could still take a few more weeks until it "comes good".

As has been said so often, the biggest test is having dough that is ready when the oven is ready ... I have many, many, many more weeks until I have a firing schedule nailed down. This will be my biggest test. We can work the bread schedule around the oven ... but the oven NEEDS to be right.


First Sourdough bake

Bread and basket

Sourdough and Walnut Levain

Sourdough crumb

2kg Miche

2kg Miche

Miche Crumb


So now the test baking phase begins ... over the next few weeks many varities of breads will be baked, tested and improved upon then baked again and again ... the whole time aiming for consisent results that taste delicious.

All the breads in this post have been baked in the woodfired oven. Apart from the ciabatta, all are sourdough and have been hand mixed, plus they contain a proportion of freshly milled grains. The biggest batch I have hand mixed so far has been 30kgs - It is easier than it sounds and is incredibly satisfying.

As Eric Kayser says, "It is a dream!  It is a dream to make the dough by hand, to make the energy with the hand!"


Scoring practice

Restaurant Ciabattas

Boldy baked bread!


Sorry I have been so slack with replies in my previous posts ... I will aim to answer any questions that you have or just say hello :)

Happy baking,


Sweet Potato Rolls

Floydm's picture




large rolls
Prep time4 hours
Cooking time25 minutes
Total time4 hours, 25 minutes


sweet potato (baked)
1 c
1⁄2 c
Sugar (white or brown or a mix)
3 c
all-purpose unbleached flour (or bread flour)
2 t
instant yeast
2 t
1⁄2 t
cinnamon (ground)
1⁄8 t
nutmeg (ground)


Bake the sweet potato for approximately 45 minutes at 375. Remove the oven and let cool.

Combine the sweet potato, sugar, and milk and stir to make a paste. Mix in 2 cups of the flour, the salt, the yeast, and the spices until thoroughly combined. Add more flour a quarter cup at a time. Mix in after each addition until you have a dough that is tacky but which you can handle with wet hands. When you hit the proper consistency, remove from the bowl and knead by hand for 5 to 10 minutes.

Set the dough aside to rise in a covered bowl for 45 minutes to an hour. Divide into a dozen or so pieces, shape, and then again allow to rise until they have roughly doubled in size, another hour or so.

Bake at 375 for approximately 20 to 25 minutes until they are beginning to turn brown.


See the original sweet potato rolls post for more photos and discussion.

Jerrywatts's picture

My greedy baguette with sun-dried tomatoes, pine nuts and olives

    I made this bread because my whole family love Italian food and baguettes and homemade sun-dried tomatoes are just heaven! I dry them in my oven and soak them in olive oil with Italian spices. I use them in everything and one day I heard someone was using them in bread and I designed this recipe so I could put everything I love in it.

    I love baguettes and for me,holes are not the ultimate goal. Good baguettes should have a crispy crust, nice taste and a bouncy crumb, not necessarily having lots of holes. I had one of the most delicious baguettes in England and it didnt even have many holes but the texture was merely light with a thin crust, full of flavour. One of my husband's quotes is" I dont like my baguettes full of holes. How would I put my buttter on it ? I'd get hungry in a minute with them holes!" You know, English people just have to eat their bread with butter. Obviously, everything is better with butter. Anyway, my point is, good baguettes should always taste nice and that's it.

    I call this baguette greedy baguette because I couldnt help putting loads of things in it and it ended up looking bloated. It was a hit with our family though and if you tried it, I believe you would agree with us. It has a very strong flavour and the crust is very crusty, largely thanks to the olive oil in the sun-dried tomatoes. With one bite, you're ensured the tastes of pine nuts, tomatoes, olives and Italian spices. Can you imagine all  the flavours explode in your mouth? We simply had one piece after another, nonstop. 

    Ok, after all the waffle, here is the recipe. I made two baguettes out of it and they are best when enjoyed fresh.

Sourdough starter  136g( 100%hydration)

AP flour 263g

Water 154g

Sun-dried tomatoes and olives 99g(I put in 69g tomatoes and 30g olives)

pine nuts 50g

Salt 5g

1. mix sourdough starter with water and put in the flour

2. autolyse for about 30mins

3. mix in all the other ingredients.

4. ferment for 4 hours, stretch and fold at the first, second and third hour.

5. rest for 30 mins and shape into baguettes

6. proof for 2-4 hours( you can even retard it overnight in the fridge)

7. bake with steam at 247°c for ten mins and then decrease the heat a bit, bake for 35mins in total

8. cool and enjoy

I made them a while ago and only managed to find two pics of them, so...

We had them with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, not butter, trying to make my husband eat healthier. The lazy wife just mixed the oil and vinegar together. I hate doing dishes!

Franko's picture

Out for a spin with the new site


This post is really more of a test with the new site than anything else. I wanted to see what, if any, differences there were between posting on the old site V the shiny new model Floyd has come up with. I was curious if the edit bar would show up when posting since it's been missing more often than not at this end over the last 24 hours. I began to wonder if posting a blog entry along with photos would have to wait for a time until things with the new site config was sorted out but as soon as I clicked on the text field the edit bar appeared and everything has worked just fine so far, just as it did on the old site. Clicking around the site just now I see the edit bar has reappeared on top of all the text fields for comments so it looks like Floyd and Dorota are getting things in order pretty quickly. Thanks you two, nice work!

The bread is a couple of Ciabatta made last weekend that I hadn't intended on posting but they were handy enough for a quick post here.  

The formula is based on Hamelman's Ciabatta with Stiff Biga from "Bread" that has been slightly adapted for hydration, one of those rare occasions that I actually lowered the water content, in this case from JH's 73% to 65%, which with the flour I'm using (Anita's Organic AP) has given me a better final result overall.


Ciabatta with Biga-adapted from Hamelman's "Bread"   
Bread Flour100.00%130.9 
ripen 12-16hrs @ 70F   
Final Dough  1100
AP Flour100.00%524 
Sea Salt2.50%13 
DDT- 76F BF-1.5hrs with 2xSF in bowl @30&60 minutes   
S&F on counter before overnight fermentation   
Total Formula   
Total Flour100.00%654 
AP Flour100.00%654 
Sea Salt2.00%13 
Total % and Weight168.08%1100 
Total prefemented flour20.0%131 

If anyone has had concerns with the new site about issues with inserting photos or pasting in formulas and such, all I can say is I didn't run into  any  problems whatsoever with this post, it worked perfectly. FYI- My system is Windows 8 64 bit and my browser is Chrome.

Happy baking and posting!



Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

Swedish/danish Rye - To mix or not to mix, that is the question

My post from last night disappeared. Here it is again.

I have been making a lot of danish and swedish style seed breads of late. Love the breads. Both are similar to each other yet distinct in flavour. The question I have is why such a difference with the two recipes in the kneading stage?

With a swedish rye, there NO kneading after the initial mix. With the Danish rye, there is a gruelling 20 minutes of mixing by hand with a wooden spoon.

Both are relatively the same in dough consistency. The danish is quite a bit higher in hydration. Could this be the reason?

I am just surprised at the major difference in preparation with two similar breads. One so easy and the other so excruciating (yes, I am out of shape but nevermind that).


Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

How to deal with monsters

Having got a bit into baking big miches recently (Hamelman's Miche Pointe-A-Caillere and Shiao-Ping's interpretation of Gerard Rubaud's formula), one of the big obstacles I faced in my home environment was to transfer a 2300g loaf into the oven.
Here is how I managed to do it:

1. The shaped dough (2300 g) sits on a couche

After Shaping

2. I wrap the dough very loosely with enough space to spread a bit

Wrapping it up 1

3. The dough is proofing, fully enclosed in the couche, and it can spread to 30cm width, just the width of my baking stone

Wrapped and proofing

4. The dough is proofed and ready for transfer - I transfer it onto a silicone baking sheet, which is very easy - just turning over the whole thing: dough inside couche

Ready for the oven

5. This is the still wrapped dough on the baking sheet, upside down

Transferred to a baking sheet

6. In the process of removing the couche

Unwrapping the monster

7. Slashed


8. This is the loaf, 15 minutes into the bake. Not much spare room in my oven ...

In the oven

And this is the finished product


Juergen's picture

Spring Levain

Springtime is outdoor time.  Meaning less baking time :-(.  So I'm pleased to have worked up this 36h labor-lite levain.  It has very satisfyingly complex flavor, surprisingly light crumb and an irresistible crust when baked boldly.  Prep is facilitated by using the same flours (a modified Rubaud mix) for both levain and dough.  Many thanks to Ian(ArsP) via PiPs for novel (to me) process pointers.

Click the table below to go to a working Google spreadsheet

First Morning    
1.  Mix final levain build in 25˚C (77˚F) water.  Incubate @ 25˚C (77˚F). If possible (not essential), aerate levain and let rise 1-2X before using.                    
2. Mix final dough's flours in RT water.  "Enzymatically preferment" at 20-22˚C (68-72˚F).

First Evening
3.  Mix salt and levain into autolysed flour with pincer & FF until dough comes together.                     
4.  Bulk ferment ~2h @ 25˚C (77˚F) w/2-4 folds early.  Rest, shape & refrigerate.

Second Evening    
5. Proof 1-2h @ 20-25˚C (68-77˚F).                    
6. Bake 20' @ 230˚C (450˚F) w/steam, then 12' @ 215˚C (420˚F) with convection  (watch it), longer for loaves > 750 gr.

The "Rubaud*" flour mix is a slight modification of Gerard Rubaud's formula.  My "*" version is

35% AP
25% Bread Flour
30% Whole Wheat
7% Spelt
3% Rye

The process exploits Ian(ArsP)'s "enzymatic preferment" during Day 1.  In theory, this saltless soaker is intended to release free amino acids by proteolysis from seed storage proteins, enhancing Maillard activity in the oven.  It also performs as much conventional autolyse as any dough could ask for.  Aerating the levain (stirring it down) releases more free amino acids in the levain, and it's interesting to see it grow back up, in the couple of bakes (weekends) where I actually had a chance to do that.

As Ian(ArsP) points out in his blog, it's convenient to start the levain build and enzymatic preferment at the same time.  Easily done before leaving for work in the morning.  Mixing, folding and bulk are performed that evening, with the dough rested, shaped and refrigerated before bed.  The dough moves slowly during the 24h fridge retard, but comes back to life when retrieved to warm up while the oven is doing the same, or a bit longer. 

Earlier bakes (below) with this process were at 78% hydration.  Cutting back to 75% unflattened the profile nicely.

This one's a keeper.  I'm anxious to apply this process to formulae I've previously come to know and love.

Happy Baking and Happy Spring!


NoobGrinder's picture

An Oldie Revised?

I'm looking for people's experiences on making the mundane, yet awesome, chocolate chip cookie. Namely, I'm looking to make them from one (or more) of the three types of wheat I have here. Hard white winter, soft white, and hard red spring wheats. What would you recommned? And do you have a favourite "whole wheat" chocolate chip cookie recipe?


Thanks in advance! :D