The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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Janet Yang's picture
Janet Yang

Blades for slashing dough

Bridge Kitchenware has some blades I've never seen before:,73.html

Any opinions on the ones that don't use replaceable blades?


leslieruf's picture

Forkish Country Blonde revisited


Yesterday decided to have another go at this bread. I followed the instructions properly this time!  Levain was nicely active and after I had mixed dough, did 3 x 30 slap and fold followed by 4 x stretch and fold in an attempt to strengthen the gluten.  Left it on the bench overnight. Temperature dropped from 20°C to around 12°C but the dough had nearly tripled by 8:30 am just as it should have and was nice and gaseous!! :) Rewatched the SFBI shaping video, cleared plenty of space and calmly (for a change) followed their shaping method.  Whilst not perfect, my shaping was much much better so I am encouraged.  Only needed 3 and half hour proof (I refrigerated the dough for the last 30 minutes) before baking in DO one after the other.  Very happy with outcome and all the tips I got last time.

Crumb shot

 Not sure why, but suddenly I even manage "ears" on almost every bake!  the holiday must have done some good :) 

eleutheros's picture

Somewhere down the road a piece from San Joaquin...

Summer has been interesting, bread-baking-wise. I went for a largely disastrous stretch trying to make higher-hydration, relatively slack doughs into bread because moisture seemed to be the key to wonderful artisan loaves. (You will note that none of those have been posted, and for good reason!) And the heat and humidity necessitated several changes to the way I feed and process my doughs, because we only use the air-conditioner as a last resort. It'll be nice when autumn really takes hold!

All that experimentation started with David Snyder's San Joaquin sourdough (SJSD to many of us), and went a lot of wild places in the middle that didn't work so well, but I came out of it with another recipe that works for me—and a lot better at bread than I was beforehand!

What I have now is about 70.5% hydration, 17.5% white whole wheat (I got up to 20% in experimentation and my wife called "too much," so I backed off to here), and builds from a tiny amount of refrigerated starter with no excess, baking on the third day. I find it wonderfully sour, though that's not everyone's thing, and this is the first bread I've made that comes near my wife's wistful recollections of San Francisco.

recipe on legal paper posted on fridge

It makes really nice boules, though I'm learning a finer balance between shaping and proofing to keep them from tearing open quite so hard. I've had several batard bakes before this split open in ways the slashes could barely control! Below are the good examples.

 crust shot

I've started to do the single slash down the middle because it gives us a loaf of reasonably uniform slice size, oblong without having to try to make an oblong loaf (which I definitely haven't mastered yet!). But so far, the angled slash that's supposed to give me nice grigne (post top) is providing half grigne, half blowout; the deep vertical slash (last, above) seems to control expansion better. These boules seem to turn out a bit denser in the middle than at the edges, so I've still got some fiddling to do with my handling and proofing, but it's getting better.

CloverPatch's picture

La Cloche Flop

Was so excited to buy a Sassafras LaCloche artisan bread baker!  Made up my usual whole-grain einkorn bread recipe which I've used many times and bake loaves in glass pans with success.  Spread cornmeal on dome base as directed and followed the Sassafras instructions exactly.  My loaf didn't look like all those nice photos of a round loaf; it looked like a cake. The bottom was stuck like glue to the base and I had to gently lift out the bread in pieces and then soak the dome base in water to remove the rest.  The bread had a nice texture, moist and a little chewy.  I saved the bread pieces to make stuffing.  I wonder why it didn't rise up into a nice round loaf and why it stuck so bad to the base.  Any ideas?  Thanks! I will try again. I've made our family's bread from scratch for over 40 years, but only in glass or metal loaf pans. I'm presently trying to get a sourdough starter made after 2 failures. But I'm determined to bake an "artisan" sourdough loaf............

Troodledoodle's picture

To feed, or not to feed?

I have a book on sourdough baking, "Do Sourdough" by Andrew Whitley. In it, he says that there is no need to worry about dumping parts of your starter, or regularly feeding it, just keep it in the fridge, and when you want to use some, take it out, let it warm up, and go. Now this is completely contrary to everything else I've read! So who's right? I have a jar of starter in my fridge, it's gone a week without feeding or disturbing, am I doomed to failure if I continue to neglect it??

Yogi's picture

New WFO: Il Fornino

Aloha Bakers, 

A new Il Fornino WFO has just arrived for my baking and I am firing it up tomorrow for test runs. I have learned a great deal from TFL about the subject and look forward to asking everyone about this new oven's issues and wonders in the days and weeks ahead. 


Right now my game plan is to get used to making fires, checking temps and understanding what the cooling rate is and how i can force cool if i need to. The first test dough is going to be focaccia and then ciabatta. 


Thanks in advance and i look forward to reading all the comments and tips. 

fusan's picture

Todays Bake - 2015-08-20

I used my normal Method to make these loaves and it goes like this...



Currently Im using Dabrownman's method because it is so easy and versatile. You can adept it to any kind of flour and build it up just the way you like to without it affecting the mother. You dont need to feed it every week but it allways pops to double after 4 hours on the 2cond (or 3) feed. Win, win win all the way! What more can you ask for?Mine is at 50% hydration, just to keep the math simple.



Started two days before baking, in the evening, just before I went to bed.

First feeding: Left overnight at 30 deg C (86 F)

  • 6 gram Mother
  • 8 gram Water
  • 6 gram Flour (Whole wheat and a little bit Rye)

Second feeding: Left for 5-6 hours at 30 deg C (86 F) and allmost doubled.

  • The previous feeding (20 gram)
  • 20 gram Water
  • 20 gram Flour (Whole wheat and a little Rye)

Third feedingLeft for 6 hours at 30 deg C (86 F). It had risen to 3 times its size and was used 1 hour after if retracted.

  • The previous feeding (60 gram)
  • 60 gram Water
  • 60 gram Flour (Mostly Manitoba, Whole wheat and rye)

All together 180 gram Levain



  • 180 gram Levain
  • 800 gram Flour (50 gram Spelt, 100 gram Manitoba and the rest was organic white wheat flour)
  • 540 gram Water (cold tapwater)
  • 50 gram Pecan nuts (Soaked in hot water for a two hours)
  • 18 gram Himalaya Salt



  1. A couple of hours before the Levain was ready, I mixed the Flour and water and left it for Autolyse.
  2. After the autolyse the Levain and Salt was mixed in. I use a mixer at the lowest speed for 5-7 minutes untill the dough developed a nice Window pane.
  3. During the following 2 hours I Stretched and Folded the dough every 30 min and added the nuts at the first S&F.
  4. The last hour I gave the dough some peace and left it to rest.
  5. Three hours after the Levain and Salt was mixed in, I gently formed the breads, put them in Bannetons with a plasticbag arround and left them in the Fridge for 12 hours.
  6. Next day I started the oven at 270 deg C (518 F) and left the oven to heat up for an hour.
  7. Took the breads out of the Fridge, Scored, and baked them for 30 minutes with a lid on top of each.



This is an interesting one, because Im on an "add sourness trip" at the moment and these loafes were not sour. What was interesting is that they had a very deep and complex flavour. They tasted a lot better than usual, but they were not very sour. I dont know what made this increase in taste, but I'll would love to find out.




fusan's picture

Homemade proofingbox

Hi all


Just finished my proofingbox and wanted to share.

I made it out of a cheap, used 40 Liter cooler from Igloo and a Thermostat from China.

This is my first project with electronics so bear with me :)



Bake Well

Troodledoodle's picture


My digestion seems to be an anomaly! I'm mildly wheat intolerant (ie I can eat small amounts without getting sick, but not huge amounts), and my husband gets very bloated after eating normal bread, so sourdough sounded like a great idea. I made my first loaf (from a commercial rye starter) and was blown away by the flavour & texture - and then my stomach was quite literally blown away too!!! I looked about 7 months pregnant, my stomach was gurgling and bubbling, I got acid reflux (I get that occasionally with acidic foods). I only had one tiny piece, and it took 24 hrs for my digestion to calm down. My husband, on the other hand, ate nearly half the loaf and had no issues at all. So, what is with me?! Normal bread doesn't bloat me, but sourdough does? I have the same reaction to cultured butter (but not to yoghurt?). I am absurdly disappointed, the sourdough tastes so much better, and I've read so many good things about it......

hisreputation's picture

Try, Try Again

My first foray into sourdough bread baking was not formulaic, and the results were less than encouraging.  See this thread:

Of course I wanted to try again, so I pulled some starter from the fridge on Saturday, and started feeding it.  It was originally developed with whole wheat flour, and turned out very thick.  This tim, I wanted to try and introduce more all purpose flour, so I've been doing all the feedings with that.  However, now I'm concerned that the liquidy-ness is inhibiting the rise.  It does rise some, but it's not doubling yet.

Any tips?  I expected it to be baking ready by now.