The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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Patf's picture

loaves dry and crumbly

I make white bread and wholemeal bread, and the last 6 months or so both have been dry and crumbly, with a space between the top crust and the crumb. I haven't changed anything in method or ingredients.

For the white I use Allinsons, and the wholemeal, Doves Farm organic.

For 1.5kg of flour, 4packs of dried yeast (32g)

I've tried using more oil (sunflower) but this hasn't made any difference.

Can anyone suggest a reason/remedy? I wonder if the quality of the flour has changed? Too much yeast?

My bread used to be rather more dense and chewy.

dabrownman's picture

Yeast Water and ADY Hot Dog Buns

Breakfast on bun day

These were very good buns.  We didn’t make a poolish or a YW levain since we didn’t have time on our side.  It was already 11 AM and no time to grind flour or an autolyse it either.  We used 40 g of YW and a pinch of ADY for the leavens.  This was an all AP bake so not very healthy.  But brats, Italian sausage and Boudin aren’t all that healthy either.


We just mixed everything together, did 10 minutes of slap and folds and 3 sets of S& Fs on 45 minute intervals and then let the dough rest for 1 hour.  We shaped the buns pulling them taut and let them proof for 3 hours on parchment paper, on the top portion of the mini’s vented broiler pan, on the counter.


We fired the mini oven up to 400 F convection and egg washed the buns.  We baked them without steam for 4 minutes and turned the oven down to 375 F convection  and baked the rolls another 4 minutes before spinning the pan 180 degrees and turning the oven down to 350 F convection.


The Last of Sylvia's inspired Key Lime Pie

After 8 more minutes the buns were done and we moved them to the cooling rack and brushed then with milk while still oven hot to keep the skins soft. They came out brown and blistered.  So, blisters aren’t from a cold retard or mega steam or a combination of both - since there rolls didn’t have either.  They were soft, moist and open on the inside.


We are getting close to a fine enriched bun recipe with this batch.

A magnificent sunset tonight



Build 1


Pinch of ADY



Yeast Water









YW % of Total






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Dough Flour












Dough Hydration






Total Flour



Total Water and YW



T. Dough Hydration






Hydration w/ Adds



Total Weight






Add - Ins






Cream Cheese



Olive Oil












Casey Wheeler's picture
Casey Wheeler

Thirsty Grains?

Normally my starter is around 60% whole grain and 40% white flour, then started using a rye starter with this current batch and the dough is much much stickier. My recipe is 100% flour 66% water 12% starter (equal parts water & grain) and 3% salt. 

Again the whole wheat/bread flour starter i get a very workable dough with great gluten strength but with this rye starter i'm making a mess. Help/Suggestions/Insight?

carltonb's picture

Types of "Cultures" ie Starters / Levains etc

I have two students this coming year that want to specialize in breads, which is not a problem.

We then came to a discussion of sours, starters, levains etc. They wanted to become more familiar with them, again not a problem. 

What is turning into a problem is the discussion we had on them. They want to know what four to six starters they should have on hand all school year to use. Basically what types should they become familiar with. 

My suggestions were a wheat and rye.

What do you TFL posters think they should keep in their repotoire.

Thanks for the help.

Carlton Brooks

papasmurf2525's picture

Crackers made from No-Knead dough

I have been using the No-Knead dough for making crackers for the last six months or so.

I usually make a small batch.  I used white bread, brown bread, rye bread, and a garlic bread.

 When I am going to make the crackers, I cut the dough into little balls.

Then, with the use of a little extra flour on the counter, I run the dough balls thru a pasta machine to make long strips.

I put these on parchment paper, then brush on olive oil and sprinkle on seasonings.  I have used a garlic/onion powder combo, b-b-q seasoning, taco seasoning, Montreal spice seasoning (tends to be salty and spicy), and popcorn seasonings.

I pop the strips into a 400 F oven for about 10 mintues and they are done.   Great for snacking on.

I was wondering if anyone had other ideas for seasonings?   I had considered using curry but shyied away from that.

If you do, send me a email to

Thank you.

bruneski's picture

Biga + flour/water autolysis


Let`s assume I`m making a biga-based bread which

(a) has the biga made with 200 g rye flour, 130 g water and 0.5 g (1∕6 tsp) active dry yeast and

(b) incorporates 120 g unbleached white flour and 110 g lukewarm water in the final dough.

(for simplicity, I`ll omit the remaining ingredients since they are unrelated to my question below).

At the end of the 8-to-12-hour rest period, this 65%-hydration biga is very firm. If I want to autolyse the flour+water mixture, how should I incorporate the biga?

Should I first dissolve the biga, cut up in small pieces, in the 110 g lukewarm water, then mix in the 120 g unbleached white flour and finally let this mix (biga-water-white flour) autolyse for 30 to 60 minutes?

Or should I mix 110 g lukewarm water and 120 g unbleached white flour, let this mix (water-white flour) autolyse for 30 to 60 minutes and then incorporate the biga cut up in very small pieces?

Or is there a another, possibly better, way to do this?

Thanks for any advice! Bruneski. 

kah22's picture

Baking the Richard Bertinet way

The past few months I've been baking the Rchard Bertinet way. Using ordinary yeast, weighing all ingredients, and working the dough rather than kneading it.And I'm loving it!

There is a difficulty I'm experiencing and that is in the wetness of the dough. I work the dough pretty well giving it anywhere up to a 150 slaps but a lot of the times it remains sticky. That's the odd thing it's pretty regular but doesn't occure all the time.

Bertinet is pretty definate in his directions 'stick to the recipe all the way!/ I'm wondering, however, what difference different types of flour might make e.g. is Tesco's any different than say Sainsbury's?

Of course it is simple to just decrease the volume of water been put into the dough, I've done it and you don't have to reduce by much.. Still before doing that I'd be interested in hearing from any Bertinet followers who had the same problem.

Dusty Couche's picture
Dusty Couche

Hobart grinder

Hi, pretty new to baking here.  I have an old commercial hobart coffee grinder and would like to try and use it to mill wheat. Has anyone here used a machine like this for wheat? Ran some through the other night and there were lots of coarse chunks in there.

i thought i might adjust the grinder to get a finer grind and run the grains through twice? and sift out any big bits left.


SpartanArtisanWantabe's picture

Michigan Hearth Room

I am planning to add a hearth room to the back of the house with an indoor Alan Scott style oven. I have studied this quite a bit but still have lots of quesions, and am looking for some feedback/advice from those who have travelled this road. I've been baking for about 15 years in my home oven and make 6-8 loaves a week for friends. These days I am making almost entirely wild yeast leaven breads and feel like I could sell or give away as much as I can make. A few of the big questions I have are...

1.) How big? I am planing to build the 42 x 48 inch artisan oven as I think I can bake approximately 15 boules at at time. Is this too big?

2.) Is there anyone out there in the West Michigan area that has built an A.S. oven that I can visit and check out?

3.) For those of you that have built an Alan Scott oven, do you have any tips or suggestions for things that you would do differently? That is, do you have any lessons learned that you can pass on to save me time, costs or effort, or ensure that the oven is a success and that I can get it permitted and my consturction approved?

kamamav's picture

flat starter & sticky dough after proofing

OK, I am new at sourdough, but have been baking many years. I have a wonderfully sour starter that bubbles real busy; however it does not expand more than 2x its volume with regular 12 hour feedings. I started with a 1-1 WW & water recipe and let the natural yeasts develop. It took about 10 days to really start working itself up good. Between my baking I store in the fridge, removing and bringing to room temp every 2-3 days. I feed and wait for action, then return to the fridge till I need it or need to feed again. I use 2-1 flour to water, alternating WW and AP for feedings. I will keep out for 3-4 feedings.

I tried using for loaves and typically get hard, overmoist and over crusty loaves. I tried 1/4 tsp ACV in my last feeding before using the starter for the 2 loaves in the pic. I am wondering if that even helped considering the density of the loaves. We ended up using it for french toast that was ok at dense it didn't want to soak up the milk/egg!

 Now, I think my hair is falling out! I am ready to throw a loaf out now that has been proofing in the oven with the light on since yesterday! Yes, yesterday! Starting the night before last, I kneaded all the ing together and let it set to rise overnight. In the morning after proofing 8 hours, my dough turned very sticky, too wet to knead without another almost cup of flour added. Beautiful 2nd proof after 2-3 hours, then discovered the same stickiness problem! I had to add another good anount of flour just to knead again. Now I have this very stiff dough in my oven scored and resting. It has risen by about 1/4 of it's original size and I'm afraid to touch it! I am so frustrated I want to just throw everything out! I love sd and thought I was determined enough to figure it out! Now I am ready to just go buy a commercial loaf and ditch the whole starter for good!