The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Most bookmarked

Skibum's picture

Overnight Country Blonde, well sort of . . .

Satisfying to get a good result on my latest take 6. Takes 4 and 5 were over proofed with my new summer kitchen temperatures. All winter and spring my kitchen was a steady 68F Now that we have real summer it is running 73-75F and BOY does this temperature change mess with bulk rise and proofing schedules!

With take four, I took the bulk rise time down to 8 hours from the 12-14 hours Ken rec's @ 70F. WAY too long. I got up to check in at 4:00 am after 6.5 hours bulk and it was already gone.

Okay, for take five, we will try an all day country blonde: Start the levain at 6:00 am, mix at 12:00 pm, finish bulk at 7:00 pm and proof and bake at 9:30. Still WAY over proofed.

For this successful bake, I started the levain at noon and mixed at 5:00 pm. With 30 minutes after the first S&F, the dough had risen by more than 1/3, so I dropped the next rest to 20 minutes and the final 2 S&F's to 15 minutes rest. I then rested the dough for 45 minutes and did a final fold at 8:00 pm. The dough had nearly doubled by this time, so the only way to save things was into the fridge overnight.

In the morning two hours on the counter, shape and proof for 1:40 rather than the 3:30 -4:00 rec'd at 70F. This baked at 475F in a covered DO for 25 mins and a further 25 mins uncovered, turning at the half.

I really like this formula! Happy baking folks!!! Ski

MC_Bread's picture

Favorite Bakeries and Iconic Breads

The team behind Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking is hard at work on their next multivolume set, which is completely dedicated to bread. We’d like to honor some of the greatest bakers and bakeries from around the globe in our new book, and we would love to hear from the Fresh Loaf community to expand our search.

What are your favorite bakeries for bread? Does the bakery have an iconic bread that they’re known for? Do they use any uncommon ingredients or special techniques to make their bread? Please provide the address of the bakery, name of head baker, and a photo of the bread, if feasible.

For example: Country Bread from Tartine in San Francisco, CA – Chad Robertson, baker

You can read more about the new book here, and here for more information about who we are and what we do.

108 breads's picture
108 breads

Central European cities - bakery recommendations?

We're following the college daughter to her summer nanotech program (okay, yes, I'm proud), and adding on a trip. While my family is out hiking or drinking world-famous beer, I hope to be tasting the delights of bread in these cities: Berlin, Munich, Budapest, and Prague. I'm especially interested in what I think is the specialty of the region, rye breads. The only glitch is that I do not know of any bakeries there.

Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated. I'm hoping for a transcendent and inspiring bread journey.

Colin_Sutton's picture

Specialist Cook Shops in Rome, Italy

I visit Rome on holiday every couple of years and on my most recent trip I was on a mission to visit cook shops, largely looking for bread-baking products. I hope the following research helps other visitors, and encourage anyone with suggestions I've missed to add them into this thread.

Specialist cook shops tend to be fairly small concerns, perhaps with a smaller product range than one would find in cities back home in the UK, but the visits were fun to do while sightseeing. I haven't included department stores, because it wasn't the sort of shopping I was doing on this trip.

C.u.c.i.n.a. — Four stores in and around Rome, including Via Mario de' Fiori 65, 00187 Rome — not far from the Spanish Steps. For cooks who like their smart equipment in steel, glass, wood and white ceramic. This store would be my recommendation if you could only go to one place while in Rome. More at:

Peroni — Two stores at Piazza dell'Unità 16 & 29, 00192 Rome. More bread-baking products here than other shops and one of the stores caters especially well for cake-bakers. Also good if you are looking for pasta machines and equipment. More at:

Gusto — A small, smart, store, run along side an equally smart pizzeria, restaurant and cafe — definitely worth eating there if the queues aren't too long. Really nice products and good for discerning gifts. It's a stone's throw from the impressive Ara Pacis museum and overlooked my the Mausoleum of Augustus on Piazza Augusto Imperatore 7, 00186 Rome. More at:

DOM — A reasonable size store, full of very colourful tools, though mostly general kitchen supplies, rather than baking. Via d'Aracoeli 6, 00186 Rome. More at:

Sorelle Adamoli — More homewares than Cookshop, but worth a visit if you are at the east end of the Corso Vittorio Emanuele II. The store is on Via del Plebiscito 103, 00186 Rome, so easy to get to on the way back from the Forum, etc.

Kitchen Kiosk — Two cluttered and somewhat shabby shops at Viale degli Ammiragli 10/12 & 22/24, 00136 Rome. Quite a lot for the cake bakers amongst you, but it's a bit out of the way and maybe not the best use of your energy if you've just been round the Vatican Museums one very hot day :-( More at

I didn't get chance to go to:

* Casa Bella di Trastevere — Via Luciano Manara 16, 00153 Rome.

* Kitchen Inc — Via Natale Del Grande 4, 00153 Rome.

Hope those are useful and have a great visit if you are heading over to Rome in the next few months.

Best wishes,


alfanso's picture

Pain au Levain w/mixed SD starters

Recently I began to try out a rye levain breads, and having leftover rye starter I figured I'd continue on that riff.  I cleave off a bit at a time from the remaining rye starter ball and still have a few bakes left in the slowly diminishing ball.  For the liquid levain, I used a recently refreshed stiff levain stater.

recent blog entry by David Snyder intrigued me.  I had long ago (if my under 18 months apprenticeship on TFL is long ago!) developed a pattern of being inspired by what I see on TFL and then give it a go.  So off I went to experience a few new things all at once.  Never used two starters in one dough before.  Ditto with any starter >100% hydration.  Also using Bread flour for the first time instead of AP flour (except for the substitution of bread flour for First Clear recently).  I amped the formula up to ~1500g so as to make three 500g batards.

I'd read that the starters take way longer than mine did to mature.  The 125% hydration bread flour starter took 7.5 hours instead of the anticipated 12-14 hours, and the way more viscous rye starter took 9 hours instead of 14-16 hours.  

Following the "make it your own" concept, I went with my standard 300 French Folds, and 2 sets of letter folds at 40 and 80 minutes, with another 40 minutes of bench fermentation time before retarding.  The dough remained retarding for ~3 hours prior to divide (I had things to do...), pre-shape and shape and then back into the refrigerator on their couche.  12 hours total retard time and then score and bake directly from the refrigerator.  13 min - steam, 20 min. - dry heat and 2 min. - vent.

The oven spring was wonderful, and the blisters on the surface almost make me wince in sympathetic pain (au levain!!)

Left: couched and ready for retard.  Right: scored and ready for the oven.


Steam just released and rotated:


The finished product:

The blue ribbon winner:



cheekygeek's picture

Insecure newbie's first real loaves: Soaker & Biga look right?

First non-bread-machine breads. Wondering if this looks right to everyone?

The recipe is Peter Reinhart's "100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread" from his "Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads" book (pages 95-98). The flour is my own, milled from Hard Red Spring Wheat, in a Magic Mill III Plus at the 1-1/2 dots setting, and I scalded the milk that goes into the soaker to hopefully help the rise. This recipe makes a 2 lb loaf, but I plan on dividing that between two Lodge cast iron loaf pans to make two 1 lb. loaves. I'm making the recipe without adjustments this first time (though I understand that I may need to increase my hydration since it is whole grain flour... if I don't get enough rise I'll try that future tries). I made the soaker and the biga yesterday morning and will be assembling the final dough and baking on Sunday.

I'm planning on trying a crust embellishment to these loaves, however, called "Dutch Crunch" which I found on this page. It looks awesome! and is apparently also called "Tiger Tail". I'll have to search BreadIt to see what others have said about it in the past.

So this is what my soaker and biga look like this morning.The final dough recipe is for combining them and adding only 7 Tbsp of whole wheat flour, plus the salt, yeast, butter and honey. From the looks of it, I will use my vintage stand mixer with dough hooks. 

First time using my new Lodge cast iron loaf pans. Not sure if I preheat or not, etc. Any words of wisdom on that score would be appreciated.

Wish me luck! Photos and follow-up post , regardless of the outcome!

RoundhayBaker's picture

Vanilla, Cardamon, and Almond Praline Danenuts

Meet the new Danenut...Same as the old cronut. Just without the registered trade mark. :P

Following on from Bakingfanatic's superb Strawberry and lemon sherbert sourdough Cronuts, here's my more modest offering. No need for a recipe, Bakingfanatic explains it perfectly well in his blog. 

Actually, I don't think mine are really cronuts because I used Danish pastry dough (but with four turns instead of the usual three in the tourage) because I love the cardamon in it. I went OTT Pierre Hermé-style with the vanilla: extra vanilla in the crème pâtissière, vanilla sugar coating, and vanilla icing. 

Now I've eaten one, I can see what the fuss is all about. You expect something as sturdy as a doughnut, instead they're light, crispy, flaky delights. And I can also see why Dominique Ansel produces so many different flavour combinations. Just about anything would work with these textures. I'll definitely be experimenting further. 


aly-hassabelnaby's picture

Exploring Sweden and Experimenting with Rye Flour

In April of 2015, my wife and I completed a long-awaited move to Luleå in the north of Sweden where she joined the university for her PhD degree. Having lived in Egypt all our lives before that, the move wasn't easy but we're slowly finding our way around town and starting to make sense of the language and the culture.  One of the things that really stand out for me about food in Sweden is how much of a bread culture they are, which of course means a lot of variety. Being a cold weather country, rye, an ingredient that just doesn't exist in Egypt, is available in abundance around here. So I decided to pick up a bag of rye flour and try my hand at it.  Unfortunately though, I had to give my sourdough starter that I've kept back in Cairo for more than a year to friends. I split it in half and gave to two different friends; one of whom actually used it and sent me pictures which was endearing. She also gave some to her aunt who was fascinated by the idea of a live culture that just keeps going.  Anyway, I used a small amount of instant yeast to get a preferment going and let it sit for about 14 hours at room temperature then proceeded with the rest of the dough. Here's what I did:  Pre-ferment:426g water + 200g Wheat flour + 200g rye flour + 1/4 tsp yeast  The next day I added 200g of wheat flour, 13g of salt and another 1/4 tsp of yeast. I did three stretch and folds at 30 minute intervals and then let it bulk ferment for an hour. After the hour, I shaped it into a rough round shape (need more practice here) and let it bench-proof for about 35 minutes.  Meanwhile, I pre-heated the oven all the way to 260C with a cast iron skillet in there. I flopped the dough from a towel onto the hot skillet, scored it, added steam and let it cook for about 20 minutes and for 30 more minutes without steam. The end result was a pretty good looking and smelling loaf which tasted very nice. I thought the rye added some depth of flavor and a bit of earthiness that barley flour just didn't do when I used it back in Egypt.  Anyway, here it is and I'll definitely keep trying new things with rye flour in the future. Greetings from Sweden and Trevlig Midsommar!     Here's a look at the crumb:    

bread1965's picture

Cold retarding timing help..

Hi Everyone.. last week I made the FWSY recipe for 50% whole wheat with biga... i learned that my room temp was too high and the overnight bulk fermentation went too far and over proofed (?) my dough..

Based on everyone's feedback I'm going to try and cold retard the dough overnight. Here's my question. I have the option of putting the dough in my fridge (probably about 35 - 40 degrees) or in a cold cellar that sits at a pretty constant 55 degrees..

Which environment would be better (of course the dough would be covered) and for how long. The recipe calls for 12 - 14 hours of bulk fermentation..

I'm tempted to go with 55 degrees for the same 12 hours or so and see how it goes.. do you think the flavour would suffer much if that's too cold versus a room at 65 - 70?

In advance, thank you for the advice!!!

Emerogork's picture

Dry Yeast VS Starter?

I have a recipe that calls for dry yeast but I want to use my new Pineapple starter instead.  How much starter replaces 1 3/4 tsp dry yeast?