The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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GregS's picture

Diagnosis desired please!

This is Hamelman's Vermont Sourdough with Added Whole Wheat. It follows his recipe right down the line. I am totally thrown by the ghostly white crust. Note that the end slice shown is normally brown on the bottom and the grigne looks excellent.....but...

The loaf was risen overnight in a banneton dusted with rice flour. The oven was at 450 (as high as it goes). The loaf was steamed twice and baked on a preheated stone for a total of about 25 minutes.

While you are looking at this, any thoughts about the rising shown at the cut? It looks to me like the bottom (which was on top in the banneton) rose pretty well, but the top didn't get much expansion in the oven.

Thanks so much for any comments. I treasure the fine people on this blog and trust your experience. Also, Season's Greetings to all!


clazar123's picture

Does powdered sugar have more cornstarch in it lately?

It seems to me that the last few years, the cookies I make with butter and powdered sugar are drier than they used to be. Is there more cornstarch and less sugar than in years past? Perhaps as a cost saving measure? Is there a standard or somewhere I can find out this information?

Specifiacally it was a shortbread recipe with butter,powdered sugar,vanilla,salt and flour. Simple recipe but the dough seems drier than in years past.

I never used to weigh ingredients so the suggestion to weigh ingredients is pointless right now as I'm comparing the recipe as it has always been and I have always made-and it is in cups and teaspoons.


dabrownman's picture

Panettone Forced English Muffins

For those who end up with a gazillion pounds of starter when making panettone, English muffins are a great way to use up some of it without having to toss it,

We used the basic method that kjknit's used which calls for 280 g of flour and 240 g of milk with, in this case, 50g of SD and YW mixed levain all mix up together and left to double or triple overnight on the counter in a 1 quart Pyrex measuring cup overnight for at least 8 hours.

The the next morning you add a tablespoon of sugar,3/4 tsp of salt and 1 tsp of baking powder to the mix and knead with some bench flour for 4 minutes.  then roll put 1/2" thick and cut into rounds that are proofed on parchment paper dusted with semolina flour for 45 minutes. Don't forget to to dust the top of them with semolina before covering with plastic.

 Then you just dry fry them in a cast iron skillet or an electric skillet like Lucy used set to 350 F.  About 4 minutes a side will do it.

This particular batch was 50% white whole wheat flour and 50% AP using skim milk. They are very tasty indeed.

So this year, we have made hamburger and hot dog buns, pizza, pancakes and now English muffins in an attempt to not throw any panettone levain away!

Now Lucy will be hard pressed to come up with another 3 or 4 ways to use up the extr4a levain yet to be made..

We had these Wolferman style EM's as Egg McMuffin knock offs with butter blackberry jam, pepper jack cheese and spicy breakfast sausage, 

braber's picture

Sourdough Starter Question

I'm new to making sourdough bread.  One thing I'm confused about is whether to pour off and discard some starter between each feeding.  I store my starters in the fridge until ready to use and put them on the counter for a few days before baking.  Do I pour off some of the starter after I take it out of the fridge, feed it, and then continue to pour and feed until ready to use?

David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

Tartine Basic Country Loaf, in a lodge loaf pan (with pictures)

So, now that I am nearly a novice bread maker and able to make a loaf of bread almost from memory,* I decided it is time to stretch my wings and see if I can make the bread in my Lodge loaf pan.

Keeping in mind that my goal was a loaf of delicious bread that I could slice more easily for sandwiches and that I had the idea only after the final rise and therefore needed to get a round risen dough into a rectangular pan (which I let sit on stove while first loaf baked), I did not fail out of the gate. Surprising, since I winged  baking times and used a turkey roaster lid on top of a griddle to create my dutch oven.

The loaf had phenomenal oven spring, and browned fairly nicely. I think I could have made a nice loaf with half the dough. The bread is perfect for sandwiches. It cuts pretty easily, is just chewy enough and, of course, delicious.

*This morning I was going to start two round loaves for the holidays.  Before doing so, I made wafiles with my starter. And after putting away dishes, I realizes that I had used my leaven and not my starter. So, now I know that leaven with an egg, 2 tbsp of olive oil, and a tbsp of grade B maple syrup (and a bit of baking soda in warm water stirred into the batter) makes a great Belgian waffle!  The batter is super thick, does not fill the griddle when open but spreads into a full waffle once the griddle is flipped, and it comes out great and crisp. Three waffles. 

dabrownman's picture

Friday Night SD YW Pretty Plain Pizza

This time we went back our favorite crust; Sourdough Focaccia Romano.  The SD levain used 10 g of rye starter, we added 45 g yeast water for the liquid and 45g of white whole wheat.  The 100 g of levain made up 20% of the total 500 g dough flour and water weight.


The dough included fresh rosemary, garlic and sun dried tomato to live up to the Focaccia Romano name.  To make the dough come out to 70% hydration,  246 g of AP flour and 164 g of water were mixed with the levain, 12 g of olive oil and 6 g of salt at 2% of the total flour weight.

After 3 sets of slap and folds of 8, 2 and 1 minute that were spread 12 minutes apart and 3 sets of S&F’s from the cardinal compass points where the rosemary, garlic and sun dried tomato were added in on the first set, the dough came together into a satin smooth ball.

After 2 hours of being undisturbed on the counter, the dough was retarded for 48 hours where it rose well in the fridge.  The dough was allowed to warm up on the counter for 3 hours before being shaped into (2) pizza crusts of 250 g each.  The dough was very extensible yet plenty strong.  There was no tearing even though the dough was shaped into very thin rounds.


As per our usual, we brushed the crust with Mojo de Ajo and docked it with a fork before sliding it into the 550 F oven on the bottom stone for a 2 minute par bake before removing it from the oven to be loaded up with the toppings.  It took about 6 minutes more baking to finish the pizza off heat wise. 


We really cut down on the toppings this time; chicken Italian sausage, red bell pepper, red onion and crimini mushrooms with mozzarella and Parmesan cheese for my wife’s pizza and added green manzanilla olives, pepperoni and fresh basil for my pizza


The sauce was unique and extra spicy this time.  Lucy added her extra hot and spicy, home made, left over, red Mexican sauce (that also had tomatillos and green chilies in it too) to our usual spicy Italian pizza sauce in a 50/50 blend.  We like it very much and may be our go to fusion pizza and Italian sauce from now on


The crust browned up well, was very crisp and thin - just the way we like it ….and it blistered too!  The 48 hours in the fridge helped the flavor even though the YW did mask the SD tang somewhat.  It turned out to be fine pizza dough in the end and we like it as much as our go to SD version.  Those who don’t like SD will prefer this one.


Now we just have the Chocolate Rye Salted cookies that breadsong posted for Christmas and a panettone for New Year’s  left to bake this year - maybe a white SD too next week between the two. 

When you have a slow, long build of white levain for a panettone bake, you end up with a lot of SD levain / starter waste.... so might as well make some pancakes with the toss.  Served with sausage, an egg. Maple syrup dm balck grapes.

 Yes.... it is chopped prickly pear tuna - I see some combo jam and margarita mix in the making.

And have a salad with that pizza..... to make it healthy and more filling:-)

frumgirl1's picture

Pan Sizes-Confused!

I have Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads cookbook. He says to use a 4x8.5" loaf pan but that a 4.5x9" "will also do." He does not give a depth. I cannot actually find these sizes of loaf pans for sale at least not in the type of pan I want to buy). What is the best size to go with?

I would also like to get a pullman pan but I have no idea what size to get. Any ideas?

Is inches squared a good way to figure out pan substitution? Or pounds of dough? Cup capacity of the pan?

These are probably very basic questions but I am new to this. I apologize if the answer should be just isn't clear to me though. If I'm going to buy a regular loaf pan AND a pullman pan I would like them to be the correct size for the recipes in this cookbook.

aptk's picture

Another Unleavened Flat Bread

This bread traces back to the Saami people of the arctic. It is very easy, went quite quickly and I think it's really quite tasty.

An illustrated recipe may be found here:


I made a double batch, using half all purpose flour, and half whole wheat. I also used lard yet once again, as the recipe said this is what was traditionally used. And although the recipe calls for rolling, I pressed mine like I do tortillas.

It is hard to describe the taste and texture of this one, like a very hearty pancake, not sweet, not salty. I will serve mine with a hearty stew on the winter solstice.

kensbread01's picture

Cinnamon Raisin Walnut Bread possible disaster

Today I decided to try a sweet bread out of the Peter Reinhart's Bakers' Apprentice.  On page 147 there is this recipe that looks easy enough, and I followed the recipe to the ounce (he measured in ounces) but found that after 3 hours of waiting for it to rise, there would be no rise to this bread.  It was way too wet and sticky.  I just don't understand how he can put out a recipe that is like 2 cups short of flour.  He did say to add flour to make it not sticky at mix time, and I neglected to do that since I felt I measured everything correctly, why shouldn't that be enough.  I am just a little disappointed in this recipe and now will have to judge everything else by instinct rather than exact measurements.

So I added in about 2 cups of flour and just kneaded by hand, let it sit for 30 minutes, and then rolled it all out into a single loaf (not the double loaves that the recipe suggests).  I put it back in the proofing box (microwave oven with hot water on the side) and finally it is starting to rise.   Now it looks like one giant croissant and I plan to bake it on a oven stone at 350.  Maybe it will still turn out okay.

heyitsmebobbyd's picture

flour fineness

I recently produced a stone flour mill.  can someone tell me, does finer flour produce lighter loafs, how fine is too fine?