The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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glasgowjames's picture

Baguette Shaping Guide

Hi there!

I just thought I'd post this up here to see what you think - tis a fairly simple picture guide on how to tightly shape baguettes that I made to go along with a recipe on my blog (Balsamic Onion Baguettes). Any feedback on clarity would be greatly appreciated, as I am working to devise similar step-by-step guides for an upcoming bread book (and I believe tartine is the best and most beautiful so far, but still can be a bit confusing):



@bakingjames on Twitter

mrgnlit's picture

Convert tassajara rye oatmeal bread to soaker/biga

Hi there I am a new baker and I have been fooling around with the recipies in the tassajara bread book. I really love the whole wheat rye oatmeal bread (I took out the white flour and just put all whole wheat, rye and oats) but it never rose well (becuase I took out the white). Then I tried  Peter Reinheart's 100% whole wheat bread recipie and it rose very well! The soaking overnight seemed to really do wonders to the bread. So I thought I shoudl adapt the recipie i like in Tassajara and make it a soaker/Biga recipie which might require me to do some bakers math and monkeying around.

Pretty much I took all of the ww flour,  took out about 7tbs and then  added half the water and 1/4tsp yeast to make the soaker. Then I took the stuff you add to the sponge (rye and oat) and I put the other half of water in it along with 1/4tsp salt to make the biga. The next day you would add biga, soaker, the rest of the salt, and yeast, molasses, and oil and knead. the rest progresses like the peter reinheart thing.

Can someone check me on this and tell me if I am on the right track?

questions and concerns

1. I had to mess with the salt is this. Do I have enough in the soaker?

2. Should i be taking 7tbs out of the origional wwf or should i just add more flour near the end?

3. Did i do the bakers percentages right? It looked straitforeward enough but I wasn't sure.

The total recipie is as follows. I converted cups to grams and also halved the recipie.

  • 480g wwf
  • 204g rye
  • 180g rolled oats
  • 10.63g yeast
  • 84 g molasses
  • 54.89g canola oil
  • 21.33g salt

So then I separated it into something that looked like the soaker biga thing


  • 49% wwf
  • .002% yeast (huh? it was so small)
  • 41% water


  • 21% oat
  • 24% rye
  • __salt (i didnt do this one oops)
  • 41% water


  • 6% flour
  • ___ salt (ugh i had salt issues)
  • .009% yeast (another small number?)
  • 9% molasses
  • 6% oil (its on page 27. keep in mind i halved it)

SylviaH's picture

Sweet Potato Pie

I baked this pie early in October, because it's our very favorite pie anytime of the year...especially when the yams 'Garnet' perfered, are good and heavy with their rich fresh tasty yummieness.

Looking at txfarmers lovely custard pie has encouraged me to post this recipe to share for this 'pie season' and hope some of you might enjoy it for the coming holidays as much as we do. 

To say this is our favorite pie is a bit of an understatement...In the South this pie is often eaten along with the meat course, but obviously can be served as dessert.


An Old Southern Recipe - Matilda's Sweet Potato Pie - revised

4 medium- size Garnet Yams - About 2 lbs. -

'Baked' rather than boiled - to bring out the sweetness even more.  Cool and slip the peels off

1/2 Cup of Butter - softened

2 Cups of Sugar

4 Eggs - 

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon cloves -  You may wish to adjust the spices to your taste.. but remember..this is not pumpkin pie spices..extra clove is a good thing.

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 Cup of Buttermilk ---- yum, yum

1/2 teaspoon baking soda (added to the buttermilk)  

2 unbaked 9 inch- pastry shells or 12 three-inch tart shells

Whipping cream (optional)

Prepare your pie crust and place it into your  pie pan  'I prefer glass 'amber or clear' pie dish' for my pies.  Refrigerate until filling is completed.  

1.  Whirl your cooled, skinned, baked yams in a blender, food processor or mixer just until smooth.

2. Add remaing ingredients (not the pastry) mix until combined and pour into your pastry shell.

3. Baked in a pre-heated hot oven... I set mine for my pie onto a parchment lined cookie sheet..on the bottom of the oven.  Cover my pie crust rim with foil or pie rim cover..put it in the oven..bake for 15 minutes..move to a lower shelf..reduce the oven to 350 and bake until center is nearly firm..test with a wooden skew for doneness.  Bake aproximately 40 minutes to an hour..depending upon how thick my filling is in my shell.  Removing the crust cover the last 10 minutes apx. of baking time.

Remember and 'watch and test' rather than clock your pie/crust for doneness.  The top should just begin to brown and feels firm to the touch.

Serve warm or cold with a dollop of sweetened whipped cream.

Serves 12 apx.

Note:  This pie freezes very successfully.

Happy Holiday Baking!



William Alexander's picture
William Alexander

Post-Sandy Comfort Multigrain Loaf


We're one of the lucky ones -- power restored after three days -- and pretty much the first thing I did (after a hot shower) was make a multigrain loaf of peasant-y, yeasty, crusty bread, with my 16-year-old levain (aka "starter"), stone-ground cornmeal, flaxseed meal, pecans, and whatever else I could dig up that said "comfort" and "health."

Concerned about getting good gluten formation and a decent rise, given all the non-glutenous stuff I was adding, I made this loaf very wet, as you can see from the photograph.

It's a little sticky to work with, but I was rewarded with a wonderful, airy crumb. This is a truly good bread. If you've never worked with a levain, here's a perfect excuse. The recipe to build your own is here or can buy a premade starter from King Arthur flour.

Best wishes to everyone who was in the path of the storm.  For more recipes and bread thoughts see

Post-Sandy Multigrain Comfort Bread

300 grams unbleached all-purpose or bread flour
260 grams levain (see Building a Levain)
25 grams stone-ground whole-grain corn meal
20 grams corn flour
50 grams rye flour
80 grams whole wheat flour
10 grams flaxseed meal
35 grams walnuts or pecans, broken in half
13 grams salt
3/8 teaspoon instant yeast
310 grams water (room temp)

Prepare the dough
  1. At least 2 hours before beginning (you can do this the night before), feed levain as follows: Remove levain from refrigerator and add equal parts flour and room-temperature water (I use about 130 g each, which replenishes what I'll be using in the bread). Stir/whip well, incorporating oxygen, and leave on the countertop, with the cover slightly ajar. Starter should be bubbling and lively when you begin your bread.
  2. Place a large bowl on your scale and zero out the scale. Now add the flours, one at a time, zeroing out the scale after each addition. Separately weigh and add the salt. Add the levain, a dash of instant yeast, the nuts, and the water.
  3. Mix thoroughly with a wet hand until the dough is homogeneous. Mist a piece of plastic wrap with vegetable oil spray, press it directly onto the dough, and leave the dough to autolyse (rest) for 20-25 minutes. Kneading and fermentation
  4. Knead by hand 7-9 minutes (see my kneading video if you've never kneaded before). If you insist, you can use a stand mixer with a dough hook for 2-3 minutes. Knead until dough is elastic and smooth.
  5. Clean out and dry the mixing bowl (no soap), mist with vegetable oil spray, and replace the dough. Place the oiled plastic wrap back onto the dough. Ferment at room temperature (68 -72 degrees is ideal) for 4 to 5 hours.
    Forming the loaf and proofing
  6. Place baking stone and old cast-iron pan or rimmed baking sheet in oven and preheat for at least an hour at oven's highest setting (I use 550).
  7. Place dough on well-floured countertop and divide in half. Form into batards, a sort of stubby, torpedo-shaped baguette. (There are numerous YouTube videos and books that illustrate how to do this). Place the loaves between the folds of a couche or parchment paper, cover and allow to proof for about 45 minutes.
  8. Turn loaves onto a peel, sprinkle tops with rice flour if you want a decorative dusting. Score loaves deeply lengthwise, at an angle, with a razor blade and slide loaves onto stone. Pour a cup of water (wear an oven mitt) into the pan.
  9. Lower oven temperature to 475 and bake for 20 minutes. Lower temperature to 450 and continue baking till loaves are a golden-to-dark brown (about another 15-20 minutes), and center of loaf is 210 degrees.
  10. Cool on racks.
Justkneadit's picture

Advice on milling my own flour

When I return from this dismal country I would like to begin milling my own flour to bake my loaves. I have zero knowledge of milling and am humbly requesting the knowledge of my fellow TFLer's to point me in the right direction as far as books to read or videos to watch, or even what brand would be good to start out with.

Apart from growing the wheat myself, a feat I will soon accomplish once I have land, it would be a great accomplishment to nearly make a loaf of bread from scratch.

Thanks everyone!


JOHN01473's picture

Help with starter please

Help with starter please

I keep having this problem with my wheat starter.
I take a 100g of starter and add 100g AP flour and 100ml of water.
I mix up and then generally have to add more water as it is too thick.
I mix up to where it is as thick as double cream
After 12 hours there is a layer of brown liquid

I scoop it out with the discard and feed.
I am trying to maintain a 1:1:1 starter.
I have read other blogs where maybe this is due to underfeeding.
A strict 1:1:1 seems too thick or should I just accept that it is thick.
Any advice would be good.

thanks - the baking bear



Bread Head's picture
Bread Head

How do I make a link in my post?

How do I make a link in my post that people can click on and it takes them to another web page?


Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

Gluten Development Techniques - What to do!?

Something that I have been wondering lately since learning how to make Tartine's Country Loaf.

Is there a reason that any other technique to develop gluten would be used other than the 'in-bowl pull-fold and rotate' method??

Why all the mess, and flour/oil waste, the sore arms and stress?

There MUST be a reason why the whole world has not switched from the painful old-fashioned kneading process to Chad's (originally French) method.  Right?  If there are, please enlighten this lazy amateur.


Grenage's picture

Poor rise while proofing croissants.

Hi there,

I've not made bread with shop yeast very often, in fact I've probably made under 20 non-sourdough loaves; still they have all risen as quickly as one would expect.  I am however having massive problems with getting proofing croissants.

After seeing one of Txfarmer's posts on croissants, I figured I'd give them a go - the recipe and steps are great, and I've not had any problems with the handling or other details.  All goes well until I roll them and leave to proof, they just will not rise at all.  They rise in the oven, and the small amount of yeast in the poolish does develop as desired, so I know that the yeast is not dead.  I have been using Allison dried active yeast, and the proofing temperature was 18-20C; proofing duration has been as long as 6 hours.

So either the yeast is not ideal for the purpose, or I am doing something very wrong.  Not that the results haven't been good, but the lack of proofing is really hampering a more open construction.   I beg thee, veterans of baking - spare my sanity.

meirp's picture

Daily sandwich loaf

 I've been baking this bread on a regular basis for almost 4 years (several a week). It has long become our go-to sandwich bread. My clients (read family) only like crusty bread - even in their sandwiches - this loaf combines a good crust with a smooth crumb. It's got whole grains, is a bit chewy, but isn't dry or heavy. I also make this as a pure sourdough, in which case, it's very different: crustier and larger holes. Below recipe is for baker's yeast version.

Ingredients Weight in grams (Volume in brackets)
Bread Flour 200
Whole Wheat flour 150
Whole Rye flour 150
4 tbsp seeds (I usually use half sesame, half flax)

Water 375
Instant yeast 3.1 (1 tsp)
Salt 6.375 1 tsp
Date syrup (Silan) 21.5 (1 tbsp)
Olive oil 13.5 (1 tbsp)

Starter 50 (1/4 cup) - I add this even for commercial yeast version (I think it adds flavour, but maybe it's my imagination).

Combine ingredients, except for salt (first dry, then wet). Mix well, then autolyse for 20 min. Add salt. Knead for 10 min. (or dough cycle in bread machine for 20 min.). Bulk rise until doubles (approx. 1 hr. for room temp. of 25 deg. Celsius), then punch down and fold, repeat bulk rise until it doubles.  I preheat oven for at least 45 min. at 250 Celsius with a pizza stone. Put in loaf pan and proof for 10 - 20 min. until top just starts to rise over edge of pan. Bake @230 Celsius deg. (less for convection oven) for 45-50 min (until internal temp. is 200 deg. F). Produce steam for first 10 min. of bake. Turn out loaf directly onto pizza stone for last 20 min. to get good crust and colour all over. Cool on rack for 2 hours.