The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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Ric Snapes's picture
Ric Snapes

Lava rock generated steam.

Hey people!


I saw a video of a guy throwing water onto hot lava rocks to steam an oven. It looks like a very promising technique. Obviously the dutch oven seems the best method to date, but has anyone tried this lava rock method? What did you find?



CAphyl's picture

Tartine Experiments continued

Baked another Tartine loaf with increased hydration, looking for the perfect crumb (which, of course, can never be achieved!)  We had this loaf for lunch with my husband's sister and her husband, Bob the baker from England.  They leave today, so we enjoyed lunch outside in the California sun.  Bob gave the bread passing marks. They return to Liverpool (and a bit of rain) this afternoon.  They did have rain here and in Las Vegas during their visit.

We enjoyed the bread, and I will continue my experiments in hydration. I believe I may try a WW recipe next.

hamletcat's picture

Leaving starter without feeding it


I was wondering what might happen if I took my dough and left it for about a week or so, without feeding it.  Could I still use it?  Could I use it the way it is to bake bread like the no knead method, or would the gluten bread down after this long.  Would putting in the fridge help?  

The reason I am asking is that I am currently using soyflour to make bread products, and it contains a lot of sugar which the yeast breaks down.  I am fructose intolerant so this really helps me be able to digest it.  However, I am finding that it is difficult to prepare 8 hours in advance which is about how long it takes.  I am just curious if I could mix up one big batch and leave it in the fridge, and just use it when I need it.  Sort of like the artisan bread in 5 minutes a day method.


zoyerteyg's picture

Sourdough Geoff's Multigrain Bread

Having benefited from the collective wisdom of other Fresh Loafers for a while, I thought it was time to make a contribution. This bread is a sourdough adaptation of a straight-dough whole-wheat multigrain loaf with honey and dried malt that my much-loved late father-in-law used to make with a bread machine.

The family always loved it, and when I took up bread baking asked me to replicate it. They claim my version tastes the same, which of course can't be true because the technique has changed. Anyway, I've been tinkering with the recipe for a few years, influenced by the Hamelman whole-wheat multigrain bread and more recently by various bloggers on this site, especially David Snyder. Today's loaf had easily the best oven spring so far and tastes good too. The crackly crust was especially satisfying.



I thought it might be worth sharing the recipe because it has a couple of unusual features for a whole-wheat multigrain both of which are retained from my father-in-law's original formula, namely the high proportion (72%) of whole-wheat flour and the inclusion of the dried malt. Here goes:


Overall Formula (makes two large loaves) 

   643g            whole-wheat flour                                                                                                              72.1%

     20g            culture whole-wheat flour

   257g            bread flour                                                                                                                          27.9%

     64g            cracked wheat or rye                                                                                                            7.0%

     64g            steel-cut oats (or other grain)                                                                                               7.0%

     55g            linseed (or other seed)                                                                                                          6.0%

     28g            dried malt                                                                                                                             3.0%

     28g            honey                                                                                                                                    3.0%

     18g            salt                                                                                                                                        2.0%

   723g            water                                                                                                                                   80%

     13g            culture water



Levain build

   113g            whole-wheat flour (+20g culture flour)                                                                              72.3%

     51g            bread flour                                                                                                                         27.7%

   107g            water (+13g culture water)                                                                                                 65.2%

     33g            stiff whole-wheat culture                                                                                                   20.1%


Prepare the levain around 12 hours before the final mix, and ideally leave it to ferment at 21°C.



   183g            grains and seeds                                                                                                            100%

   183g            boiling water                                                                                                                   100%

       4g            salt                                                                                                                                      2.2%


Prepare the soaker at the same time as the levain, and leave it to stand in a covered bowl at room temperature.


Final Dough

   530g            whole-wheat flour

   206g            bread flour

   433g            water

     28g            dried malt

     28g            honey

     14g            salt

   304g            levain

   370g            soaker           




  1. Mix without kneading all the final dough flour and water in a bowl until the water has been incorporated.
  2. Cover the bowl and leave the flour and water to autolyse for up to 60 mins. The target dough temperature is 24.5°C.
  3. Add the soaker and honey, sprinkle on the salt and dried malt, add the levain, and mix roughly until all the final dough ingredients are loosely incorporated.
  4. Hand-knead the dough (I don't own a mixer) for 12-15 minutes until it acquires some body and the gluten has developed perceptibly. It will be sloppy and almost unmanageable at first, but starts to settle down after a few minutes.
  5. Bulk-ferment the dough for 3 hours 20 minutes, folding three times at intervals of 50 mins.
  6. Divide the dough into two equal pieces, then lightly pre-shape them round and leave to rest for about 10 minutes.
  7. Shape the dough pieces into boules or batards, optionally coat them with sesame seeds or cracked grain, then place them seam-side up in bannetons covered by plastic or inverted bowls.
  8. Proof for 2-2½ hours, ideally at 24.5°C. Alternatively, refrigerate the bannetons for 14-18 hours. If retarding in the fridge, leave the bannetons out at room temperature beforehand for up to 1 hour and afterwards for 3-5 hours, depending on the state of the dough.
  9. Pre-heat the oven well in advance of the bake at 240°C. However, if using a peel and stone, pre-heat the oven at 255°C to allow for the loss of heat when loading the loaves.
  10. Score the loaves and transfer them to the oven.
  11. Straight after loading the loaves, steam the oven and, if using a peel and stone, reduce the oven temperature to 240°C.
  12. After 20 minutes, lower the heat to 225°C and remove your steaming device.
  13. Bake the loaves for about another 30 (batards)-35 (boules) minutes, until fully baked and crusty.
  14. Take the loaves out of the oven and leave them to cool thoroughly (six hours or longer) before tasting.


This recipe includes a few innovations compared to my earlier versions of the bread, mainly the high 80% hydration level, the long bake, and above all the long proofing time at room temperature after fridge retardation. The extended final proofing was forced on me because we had to do some shopping in the morning, but the dough had hardly moved in the fridge and I was curious to see what happened. In the end, I left the loaves out for 4 hours 15 minutes and they don't seem to have suffered. I was worried that the sourdough acid aftertaste would be too prominent, but the flavour turned out balanced and wheaty.

It's certainly a denser bread than most, but there's enough expansion to keep the denseness at a pleasant level. And to my taste it's not remotely like the caricature of a whole-wheat brick. I hope you're interested to give it a try.

mcs's picture

Sinclair's Bakery - first year

Hello Everybody,
This week marked the one year anniversary of Sinclair's Bakery here in Belgrade, MT.  I thought I would commemorate the event with a picture-post reviewing some of the more significant events of the year.  If you're interested in some of the business specifics of how things evolved this past year, ask away and I'll answer here.  Enjoy.  :)

PS, for a more frequently updated view of the bakery and events, check out the bakery FB page here


February/March/April 2013: picking up the new trailer, from the outside looking in, garnishing pastries for a film festival, the winter market (April was also the month that I made this Potato Rolls Video)


May/June 2013:  experimenting with sausage filled pastries, croissant dough layers, meat filled buns, trailer at the Livingston market


July/August 2013:  buckwheat flax/rye loaves, pains au chocolat, Big Sky market, getting ready for the next market


September/October 2013:  Apfelstrudels, making the Brioche video, pan ryes, small rustic white


November/December 2013:  casadielles, brioche/getting ready for the brioche workshop


January/February 2014:  croissants, cheese danish, baguette video, baguettes


Just in case you're saying, "Mark, I hope you took some time to do some fun stuff..." here you go: 
Hoku & I relaxing, ice skating at sunset, playing music at a Valentine's Day open mic night :)

bshuval's picture

My new Danish Bread Slicer

A little over a year ago, I read on this site (here) about PiPs' wonderful find of a Raadvad Danish bread slicer. I saw that post and was filled with envy. Of course, I immediately searched online for one. A few were available on some auction sites, but for very high prices (and most won't ship internationally, either). 

At work, most people know that I enjoy baking. Of course they know that my favorite thing to bake is bread. I often bring bakes to work. There also happen to be several other hobbyist bakers there, and I often supply them with recipes. After all, I have a rather substantial library of bread books. One guy at work was telling me how he missed good old Russian Rye breads. The next day, I gave him a little bit of sourdough and a recipe. He followed the recipe, made successful bread, and was ecstatic with the result. 

Fast forward a few months, and he mentioned that his wife found a Danish bread slicer at an antique dealer. Boy was I envious! I told him that I had been wanting one, and that he is very lucky. This was maybe three or four months ago. 

This morning he came to the office carrying a Raadvad Danish bread slicer, in great condition (not as pristine as the one PiPs had bought, but in very good condition, and in perfect working order). His wife had found one, and got it for me! I was elated. I took it home, cleaned it, and sharpened the blade. I now have a loaf of Russian rye bread (Andrew Whitley's version, with a little added salt) baking in the oven. Tomorrow, after it had had time to settle, I will try out my bread slicer. 

I don't know how old it is, or any of its history. There were some leftover dried grains stuck between the plates of wood that I had cleaned. Here are some pictures: 

lew_c's picture

NutriMill or WonderMill

I'm trying to decide between the NutriMill and the WonderMill. I read a post here that indicated that WonderMill isn't suited to milling amaranth. But I noticed an attachment for the WonderMill for use with amaranth. Opinions, experiences, advice, etc. appreciated. 

 Confused or possibly just senile, but definitely in need of help,


ibor's picture

The 4 Strand Delta Bread Braid

The 4 Strand Delta Bread Braid


From "The Art of Braiding Bread"


David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

Tartine Weekend

This weekend's bake started Friday evening -- I removed my starter (housed in a 1/2 pint mason jar) from the fridge and added a tablespoon (yes, I use a tablespoon and it generally weighs from 18-22 grams) of starter and added it to 200 grams of cool water. I added 100 grams of KA organic all purpose flour and 100 grams of flour that I blended from hard winter red wheat berries the previous week and let the mixture sit overnight.

In the morning my leaven was ready to go, so on Saturday I mixed the leaven and water with 2000 grams of flour (a mixture of flours on hand), let it autolyze for a couple of hours and then added the salt.  I do this in two batches, each batch making 2 loaves.

After stretching and folding for at intervals of 30 minutes for the first two hours, I let did another 3 folds over three hours, divided the dough and shaped.  I pinched off a bit to make two pizza doughs so that one of my three loaves are smaller than the other.

I placed the shaped boules into the fridge Saturday afternoon, baked one loaf Sunday morning and two on Sunday evening. 

I used my chef's knife to score the loaves.  It finally didn't stick.

I also experimented and flipped the towel-lined bowl out onto my super peal and transferred it to the cold dutch oven from the peel.  Then baked as per Tartine Bread.

Sadly, I have no idea which bread was baked in the morning and which bread was baked in the afternoon.  I think the smaller one was done in the morning and I gave that away to my neighbor. I am eating one of the larger ones now and it is not sour tasting.  It is also a bit chewier than usual.  Very moist, but still a bit chewier than usual.  I like it. Made a great peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Waiting to hear back from our neighbor to see if they liked it. Hope it was delicious.

sybram's picture

Corn Bagels

Everyone in the U.S. except those who live in New York state should know that Thomas only ships their corn bagels to the Big Apple state.  Boo!  

Anyone have a recipe for corn bagels?