The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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dosco's picture

High Hydration Dough ... how much kneading/folding is enough?

Recently I've been trying lower hydration doughs with more kneading in order to get a "smooth" dough. Also try the "windowpane" test ...

So how does one know when a high hydration dough has been worked enough? When I use the stretch and fold method, the dough gets stretchy, elastic, etc., which I assume to be a sign of gluten development. Is there a way I can determine on a batch-by-batch basis if I've done enough? Can't really windowpane a 70-something-percent dough because it's just too slack.


rottenfood's picture

Starter Selection

Despite years of SD baking, I remain confused about which/why/how much starter is used - mainly the selection of flours.

I've used high and low hydration white and whole wheat flours, but not a rye-based starter. Maybe there are others to try, but I'm most curious about the rye. For white/wheat, I'll usually use 12-19 oz of starter to raise 5 lbs of dough.

Would the rye starter bring a noticeable difference in flavor? Rise? Crumb?

Would I use roughly the same amounts?

Is it better to supplement another starter w/ some rye starter - rather than all rye starter?

Many Thanks for your kind help.

Nomad Bread's picture
Nomad Bread

Baking with Spelt - help

hi all

never thought my first post would be about spelt, but here goes.

I bought some wholegrain spelt flour (by mistake..) so I looked up some (alternative) recipes and found a decent one on Susan's wildyeast blog. the finished product looked very nice and appealing so I said why not.

I did look up some background info on spelt and how it feels to work with and bake, and I knew I've got a challenge on my hand. I went ahead and followed the recipe to the dot and prepared the oven like I usually do (I make some great rye sourdoughs so my method is fool proof with the available equipment).

now, the taste is no doubt fantastic,  and it's a great replacement for wholemeal, however the consistency and workability,  oven spring and keeping quality I struggled with.

 it was almost impossible to keep its shape as a boule, since it flattens out as soon as you take it out of its proving basket. oven spring was almost an inch, so not great. and it went hard after less than a day... really frustrating.


so, what's the secret? should I use less of it when baking with AP mixture? would using a high gluten flour work better? what can I do to avoid my problems above?


any advice much appreciated.


shreyjagma's picture

Head Over Heels for Chocolate Peanut Butter Shortbread Squares Recipe

Everyone wants a new and different dish for their kitchen menu and a menu consist of something sweet for sure. Now what special and different to be added with all the ingredients available is a big question. Here is chocolate peanut butter shortbread squares recipe which is simply superb and easy to cook and enjoyed with friends and family.


For shortbread

  • ½ cup softened butter
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 cup of flour

For caramel

  • 25 unwrapped caramels
  • 2 tablespoon of peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon of heavy cream.

For chocolate

  • 1 ¼ cup of milk or semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoon of peanut butter
  • ½ cup of mini Reese’s pieces (optional)

Steps to be followed:

  1. Preheat the oven at 350F
  2. Take an 8x8 inch pan and line it with foil and spray it with cooking spray.
  3. For the shortbread cream the butter and sugar with the help of a hand or a mixer till it becomes fluffy.
  4. Mix the vanilla extract in it and then stir the flour. Take the prepared mixture and press it in the pan.
  5. Bake it for about 16-18 mins until it becomes golden brown from the top. Keep it aside and let it cool.
  6. For the caramel add the caramels, peanut butter and cream in a bowl and microwave it. Set the microwave on high and heat it for 40 seconds. Stir it and the again melt it for 10-20 seconds. Stir it again till it becomes smooth.
  7. Now pour the mixture on the top of the shortbread.
  8. Take a spatula and coat it with cooking spray and evenly spread the mixture on the shortbread. Chill it for 10 mins.
  9. For the chocolate topping melt chocolate chips and peanut butter together in the microwave for about 35-40 seconds. Stir it continuously till it is smooth enough.
  10. Pour the melted chocolate over the caramel and spread evenly and carefully. Top it with Reese’s pieces if required. Chill it until it becomes firm.
  11. Take the bars and warm them a little as the caramel would be hard and won’t be able to cut easily.
  12. At room temperature attained cut the bars.

Chocolate peanut butter shortbread squares are ready to be eaten but eat them at room temperature so that the caramel doesn’t hurt your teeth.

Capn Dub's picture
Capn Dub

Hello, Friends

I've been a lurker here for a couple of months, but I finally decided to join the crowd.  Y'all have impressed me as being a group of ladies and gentlemen -- does that mean I'm automatically banned?

I've been baking artisan loaves off and on for years, but I'm far from being an expert.  Sourdough is my chief love, although I'm not too proud to do an occasional batch of yeast bread.  My idea of a perfect loaf is a boule with a crust that would deflect a bullet and big holes in the crumb.  Finally, I think I've got it down pat, but I'm still tweaking my methods and recipes.

So anyway, hello from the two of us:  me and Hecliff.  (Hecliff is my starter -- any creature who eats as much as he does needs to have a name.  I've taught him to sit, but he just refuses to come when I call him.  I suppose there's no chance he'll ever learn to fetch the paper.)

Thanks for letting me join such a nice group.


htaoreed's picture


Hi everyone,

I just joined the forum. Can anyone please recommend a good bread oven and mixer for me and where I can get it?.

bobku's picture

Tartine problems with crumb

I made a Tartine loaf; the outside looks great and bread taste great. I'm not happy with the crumb. I always seem to get a few really large holes. How can I get hole structure more evenly distributed, any suggestions, or am I expecting to much.


jafwiz's picture


I am not having any luck making my own starter.I tryed the Peter Reinhart method which was 1/4 cup whole wheat and 1/4 cup pinapple juice? I  have been stiring and after 4 days still no movement. I added another 1/4 cup plus 1/4 cup of pinappple juice after that. Is there another recipe i should try that might work or any help with this one?

Gumbeaux's picture

Questions after first attempt at Sourdough

First attempt at making sourdough bread. This is my first attempt at sourdough bread. I used 5 1/2 oz 100% hydration starter, 17 1/2 oz KA bread flour, 13 oz water, 1/4 oz of salt. I am really happy with the crust, would like a little more open and less chewy crumb, but this bread was severely lacking sourdough taste. Not sure if I'm feeding the starter correctly or if I'm feeding it correctly before reviving it from refrigeration in order to use it in sourdough bread. I made a 100% hydration starter using rye flour, bread flour and water. I fed it as follows every day for two weeks 6oz of starter, 12 oz of water, and 12 oz of bread flour. It smells like sourdough and bubbles well. I started to keep it in the refrigerator and fed it once a week by letting it come to room temp and fed it as noted above, waited for it to bubble and then refrigerated it again. Not sure if I'm doing anything correctly so any feedback, help, comments of criticism would be greatly appreciated.

kmellecker's picture

Kneading Question

As I mentioned in my introduction a few days ago, I am new to bread baking and new to this great site. I use a stand mixer for mixing and kneading because of arthritis. I've learned here that approximately 10 minutes of hand kneading is required but how does that translate to a stand mixer? I am currently making a basic white loaf bread and I start my kneading time of 10-12 minutes once the dough balls. If the mixer type is important, I am using an 800 watt 5 qt Viking Professional. Thank you for any guidance you may be able to provide.