The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Most bookmarked

bscruggs99's picture

cinnamon raisin bread question.

OK so here's what happened. Our 11 month old can finally eat wheat(allergies) and my wife said "you should make some cinnamon raisin bread today" and it was getting on in the day. So instead of finding a proper recipe for it I used one of Reinharts cinnamon roll recipes. Long story short, it would have turned out OK but it had to cook FOREVER in a 9.5x5" loaf pan. The crumb was OK but dry. The crust was almost bullet proof. Me being me, I just knew it would turn out better the next time, and it did but the crust was still over done. I was just wondering, I have some 12x3.5" pans I use for regular sandwich bread. Would the change in dimensions be enough for it to come out right or should I just give it up and find a proper bread recipe? The problem it's having is the center isnot cooking fast enough which is why I methinks the narrower pan would help. Is it a lost cause?

Thank you so much for your time!

sandytroy's picture

switched to using a cornstarch wash on my dill rye now...

Been pretty happy with using a cornstarch wash on my dill rye now. 

- Love to get any "rye tips" from folks.

(seeds charnushka and caraway)

Cornstarch wash tip:  (can cut in half, ¼ teaspoon cornstarch, ¼ cup water)

Using a fork, blend 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch with a small amount of water to form a paste.

Add 1/2 cup water and whisk with the fork. Microwave or boil until mixture appears glassy/clear, about 30 to 60 seconds on high.

It will keep in the refrigerator for two weeks; discard if it has an off smell.

Brush on bread immediately before and immediately after baking.

Important: Keep solution warm/hot, reheat if necessary PRIOR to applying.


greenbriel's picture

TXfarmer's 36+ hour baguettes. WOW!

I was very skeptical when I took the dough out of the fridge after 24 hours, as it didn't seem like it had risen at all. I felt like the youthfulness of my starter had failed me, but what the hell, give it some warmth and see what happens. After maybe 5 hours on the counter we were in business! Nice bubbling and doubled in volume! I couldn't believe it.

Preshaped, shaped, proofed on a couche and then into the oven with steam. Shaping and scoring probably not as good as the last batch, and no ears, but the crust and crumb were good, and the TASTE! So delicious! I gave one to a friend who went to meet friends for a drink and they ate it at the bar within minutes!


At the risk of this sounding like an Oscars acceptance speech, I'd genuinely like to thank David (dmsnyder), dabrownman, and Hannah (a_warming_trend) for their encouragement regarding the move to SD baking. You were right, it’s a whole new ballgame, I’m hooked! I can totally see why and how people get so attached to their starters. Still working on a name for mine :)

And of course a huge shoutout to txfarmer for the encouragement and AMAZING recipe. You are a wizard [tips hat].

This site has improved my baking enormously in just a couple of weeks! Thanks Floyd!

PalwithnoovenP's picture

Siopao (Steamed buns)! Can't stop my bread making addiction!

I'm already at my dorm for more than two weeks but the bread baking addiction hasn't stopped. I really need to get my hands on some dough manipulation or else...! They say to stop an addiction you must identify your danger zones; when you are most likely to do the thing you are addicted in like when you don't have something to do for two days because of your work schedule from 4 consecutive sleepless nights because new bread baking ideas are plaguing your mind like mad piranhas swarming on an unsuspecting prey! And did I mention that I brought my flour and yeast with me in my dorm? Of course with my other ingredients and utensils too! So instead of resting from all the tiring work and sleeplessness I decided to make bread. I don't have my clay pot here with me but I HAVE TO MAKE AND EAT BREAD! I checked my stuff and yes! I have my little bamboo steamer that endured my adventures for three years with me! I shall make some steamed buns to pacify the "bread making beast" inside me.

I made the pork and mushroom stuffing and the dough on my first rest day. The dough has the lightest enrichment; mid-strength flour, a bit of white sugar, salt, yeast and oil. I fermented it for 2 hours at room temperature then divided it into balls before putting it in the fridge. The next day I let the dough warm up for an hour before stuffing. Because of the long rest, they are so easy to roll and pleat. By the way I am trying to improve my pleating to make it more beautiful.

Finally this steamed bread of mine is not the snowy-white cloud-fluffy kind you get in dim sum restaurants. It soft and chewy with a bite and has an elastic skin. It is hearty enough to support the fragrant and juicy pork meatball inside.

I've used some red cupcake liners instead of parchment squares for convenience and to add some festive look to my buns. I hate steamed buns as a child but loved them as I grew up. I'll try the pot sticker method next time for fried sipao / ShengJianBao to recreate a favorite! Thank you very much!

isand66's picture

Porridge & Grits Bread

This is the most sour porridge bread I've made to date.  I think the 2 day rest in the fridge for the Einkorn and European Style flour starter may have contributed to it.

I used some pearled barley and Organic Six Grain Flakes from KAF for the porridge and added some cooked grits with cheddar cheese.  I didn't measure the cheese added to the grits but it wasn't a large amount.  Feel free to indulge.  I always make a lot more grits than needed and eat them with dinner or breakfast later on.

Note: Grits are 80% water and the water added for the final mix takes the 120 grams of water left over after cooking for the grits into consideration.  I was actually going to add more water to the final dough but it didn't need it.

The final bread was excellent with a nice moist and open crumb which is expected from porridge breads.  As I said before this one did come out a lot more sour than usual but it makes excellent grilled bread and toast and I almost wish I had kept both loaves instead of giving one away :).


Porridge & Grits (%)

Porridge & Grits (weights)

Here are the Zip files for the above BreadStorm files.


Levain Directions

Mix all the levain ingredients together  for about 1 minute and cover with plastic wrap.  Let it sit at room temperature for around 7-8 hours or until the starter has doubled.  I used my proofer set at 83 degrees and it took about 4 hours.

Porridge Directions

Add about 3/4's of the milk called for in the porridge to the dry ingredients in a small pot set to low and stir constantly until all the milk is absorbed.  Add the remainder of the milk and keep stirring until you have a nice creamy and soft porridge.  Remove from the heat and let it come to room temperature before adding to the dough.  I put mine in the refrigerator and let it cool quicker.

 Main Dough Procedure

Mix the flours  and the water for about 1 minute.  Let the rough dough sit for about 20 minutes to an hour.  Next add the levain, cooled porridge, polenta and salt and mix on low for 4 minutes and speed #2 for another 2 minutes or by hand for about 6 minutes.   You should end up with a cohesive dough that is slightly tacky but very manageable.  Remove the dough from your bowl and place it in a lightly oiled bowl or work surface and do several stretch and folds.  Let it rest covered for 10-15 minutes and then do another stretch and fold.  Let it rest another 10-15 minutes and do one additional stretch and fold.  After a total of 2 hours place your covered bowl in the refrigerator and let it rest for 12 to 24 hours.  (Since I used my proofer I only let the dough sit out for 1.5 hours before refrigerating).

When you are ready to bake remove the bowl from the refrigerator and let it set out at room temperature still covered for 1.5 to 2 hours.  Remove the dough and shape as desired.

The dough will take 1.5 to 2 hours depending on your room temperature and will only rise about 1/3 it's size at most.  Let the dough dictate when it is read to bake not the clock.

Around 45 minutes before ready to bake, pre-heat your oven to 550 degrees F. and prepare it for steam.  I have a heavy-duty baking pan on the bottom rack of my oven with 1 baking stone on above the pan and one on the top shelf.  I pour 1 cup of boiling water in the pan right after I place the dough in the oven.

Right before you are ready to put them in the oven, score as desired and then add 1 cup of boiling water to your steam pan or follow your own steam procedure.

After 5 minute lower the temperature to 450 degrees.  Bake for 35-50 minutes until the crust is nice and brown and the internal temperature of the bread is 205 degrees.

Take the bread out of the oven when done and let it cool on a bakers rack before for at least 2 hours before eating.



wakkyzakky's picture

UPDATE BELOW- Still Messed Up!!! Can anyone help me figure this one out?

Hello everyone!! I am new here- actually only new posting. I have been obsessively reading and learning from this site but have been (embarrassingly) too lazy to register and post. Until now, that is.

I have been learning all about the sourdough starter concept, and have finally been able to create my own and keep it alive. I have also been able to make a FEW successful breads with it. But I have made an equal number of breads that have this weird crumb with these enormous pockets of dead space. The bread in the attached pic is definitely the worst to date. 

I have read about this problem at some point and see that improper proofing may be the issue. I just dont know what the exact problem is, and would love some help.

Thanks so much, and here is the recipe and method for this last one (which was with some experimental ingredients, but the process was the same that I have done with success before).

(and sorry for no baker %'s, I am just too anxious to get to the problem)

2.5 cups bread flour

.5 cup rye flour

.5 cup white whole wheat flour

2 cups ap flour

2 tsp salt

1.5 tbsp sugar

.5 cup starter (definitely alive and smelling great)

1.5 cups water

.5 cup beer

1/8th cup olive oil

Mixed the flour w salt and sugar first

added starter

added warmed liquid combo (110f)

Spent a good 10 mins w reasonably proper hand kneading technique on table. Covered and into oven w light for maybe 4/5 hours. Took out and w a bit of water very gently folded into itself, covered and back in oven. maybe another 2 hours, put onto table and set oven (home w/ convection feature) to 550. I cut the total loaf in half, made 4 small balls (which actually baked with NO problem, perfect crumb), and a larger one (that made this reject). Waited maybe 20 minutes til temp achieved. Then put onto upside down tray at lowest rack setting. Fe minutes moved up to middle and finished there after maybe another 10 mins or so. When was sufficiently cooked, took out and cooked on wire rack for 1 hour (actually didnt open til 24 hours later- had it stored in a plastic shopping bag overnight to stay soft)


Thats it!! Thanks so much in advance for any help (and reading this far)!!


dosco's picture

Porridge Sourdough (Based on BBA Basic SD)

I cooked up some of the Bob's Red Mill 10 Grain Wholegrain Cereal and used it in the preferment instead of the main dough.

Preferment 1st Build:

25g of ripe starter

50g of cooked cereal

50g of water


Preferment 2nd Build:

150g of cooked whole grain

50g of white whole wheat

200g of water

Life interfered a bit and the preferment sat for about 12 hours longer than I planned - everything looked fine until I went to use it and there was a thick layer of clear fluid on the surface of the preferment. I decided not to worry about it and simply added it to the main dough.

Main Dough:

16.25 oz KAF Bread Flour

2 oz KAF White Whole Wheat Flour

2 oz Arrowhead Mills Rye Flour

0.55 oz Himalayan Pink Salt

16.7 oz water

(you can see that this is close to/similar to Reinhart's BBA Basic Sourdough formulation)

The amount of "extra moisture" carried by the preferment was a bit much. I estimate the hydration of this dough to have been just under 88% ... I was shooting for 82% but I clearly made an error with the preferment. The dough reminded me of Jennifer Menke's "That's a Lot of Ciabatta" recipe ... very wet, a bit challenging to handle, etc. I mixed the flour and water and let the mass autolyse for 60 minutes. Kneading the dough with my Kitchen Aid also reminded me of Jennifer's recipe, I had to run it at very high speed for something like 15 minutes before the gluten developed enough for the dough to unstick from the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl.

I let it sit on the bench for about 2 hours before putting the dough in the fridge for 24 hours of cold fermenting. I then removed the dough from the fridge, preshaped into a ball, and put it back in the fridge for about 12 hours. I then final shaped it into a boule and then put the dough in a bortform floured with white rice flour. Back into the fridge for 6 hours and it was time to bake.

I put my DO in the oven and preheated it to 550dF. I put the dough on a piece of parchment, scored it, and loaded it into the DO. Into the oven for 20 minutes, after 10 minutes of baking I reduced the oven temperature to 525dF. I then removed the bread from the DO, reduced the oven temp to 475dF, and baked for about 18 more minutes (I had planned for 20). Internal temp at this point was 210dF and so I turned the oven off and let the bread sit for another 20 minutes.

I had a slice this morning - very nice aroma and flavor.




Heylo's picture

Rye-spelt loaf- back with results

Abe and Mini this is for you.

I first started with making a new 100% hydration rye sourdough, which is nicely active and real bubbly..


The making of the loaf:

-Rye sourdough: 250g

-Water: 447g  

(mixed these till dissolvement)

-Rye flour: 306g

-Spelt flour: 345g

-Salt: 10g

(added these to the watery mass, kneaded with a mixer a few minutes. the dough came out quite homogenous and not as sticky as I expected).

Fermented for a few hours in room temperature and then in the fridge for the night.

The next morning- let it uncool a bit and then baked for 15 minutes with steam on 230c, and another 30 minutes on 200, without steam.

I got a bit of an oven spring (and a really nice rise during the night). The loaf is quite condensed but holey as you can see, and the taste is mildly sour, and actually quite nice.

I'm happy!

dabrownman's picture

Nothing Bread - 100% Unbleached Yeast Water White Bread

I know you are thinking the same thing I am when Lucy came up with this one.  What is wrong with her?  No whole grains, no sourdough, no add ins – No Nothing Bread!


I was quickly reminded that we had company coming over for Valentines Day with one not even out of high school and they might nit like those other kinds of wonderful breads we like so much.


Plus it has been a long time since we baked with our yeast water, now apple and about forever since we baked with it alone without at least some SD in there somewhere!  Lucy thought about using some bread flour or some light colored beer or whey or even enriching this dough with cream cheese, egg and butter but thought I was way too lazy to follow through with it. 


She might be right but this bread was just Sprouts binned unbleached white AP flour at 12% protein, water, YW and salt.  She really made it easy using one of her favorite fool proof, except for me of course, 1_2 3  concoctions so no formula required for this post.


We starter with 60 g of YW and flour each making a 120 g , 1 stage levain that we retarded for 48 hours after it doubled in volume - which took 12 hours as the YW had been stored for months with no maintenance.


We did autolyse the dough flour and water for 1 hour as the YW levain warmed up on the counter with the salt sprinkled on top.  Once the levain hit the mix, we did 3 sets of slap and folds of 7, 1 and 1 minute each and 3 sets of stretch and folds from the compass points all on 20 minute intervals. 


We then pre-shaped and shapes the dough into a squat oval, put it in a rice floured basket, bagged it and retarded it for 13 hours.  The dough didn’t proof enough during the retard so we let it warm up on the counter for 3 hours before firing up BOB to 500 F with Mega Steam in place.


We un-molded the dough and slashed it in a decorative way, at least for us, hoping the long middle slash would get an ear and that this bread would blister and brown well.  We slid the dough on the bottom stone and turned the oven down to 450 F for a 15 minute steam bath.


Once the steam came out, we turned the oven down to 425 F, convection this time, and baked it for another 10 minutes until the internal temperature was 208 F.  We then turned off the oven and let it sit on the stone until the internal temperature hit 210 F when the bread was removed to the cooling rack.


While waiting for that YW levain to double a prickly pear margarita hits the spot..

Sure enough it sprang and bloomed well with an ear in the middle, large blisters pretty much everywhere and a nicely browned cover too.   Lucy loves it when everything on the outside comes out as planned but ….. we will have to wait on the inside until it cools down  and we can slice it for lunch turkey pastrami sandwich.  Right now it looks like it has some promise.



Tanya's picture

A new product - the Loaf Peel

Hi, I want to introduce a new product that we have designed and used for several years and now finally got it patented.  We are making them in small batches as the orders come in.  These are incredible time and back savers.  Take a look at the video.  Of course, I want to sell them, but I would really appreciate any comments as well.  Here's a link to the Youtube video:

We're also about to release a version that will lift 4-strapped loaf pans, without using gloves and getting your hands inside an oven.