The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Most bookmarked

  • Pin It
grind's picture

spontaneously fermented rye bread

This recipe is from a friend's Lithuanian grandmother.  This is how it is written:

1) pour boiling water over 1/3 weight rye flour and stir for thirty minutes until the mixture sweetens

2) cover to cool

3) add 2/3 of rye flour and knead

4) keep warm for 1 to 3 days until it rises


Never tried it myself.  Think I'd get the jitters waiting around for the right moment to bake it.

Jonathan.D.Waits's picture

Define pink...Starter Coloration

So I have been looking at some trouble shooting things, and folks seem to say that pink is bad. I have a starter I have been working on for about a week now using only rye flour. It has a vinegary smell, almost like baked beans. before I add flour and water to it, the top has a greyish tint. when I stir it, everything underneath has a pinkish tint to it, but its only pink in relation to that top layer, just by itself I would say its very light brown or almost sandy colored. Is it bad?

alonedawg's picture

freshness of flour

my first post ever to any blog!  i have been baking on and off for many years, this period about six or seven pretty much continuously.


my question is: i am beginning to grind my own flour with a stone mill and wonder if it is possible for flour to be TOO fresh.


BTW, how to make the text larger so i can read it.



adam_dolcebakery's picture

Pretzel Buns sticking.. driving me nuts!

Hello all.. we are finally getting around to baking wholesale numbers of pretzel hamburger buns (pretzel brioche actually!) yet we are still dealing with the problem of the pretzel buns sticking to the cooling racks we bake them on. Why do we bake on cooling racks? I'll explain..

We are making pretzel brioche and the dough is very, very delicate. We have to proof them on the racks because once they have double in size, we then apply the lye bath to them. The cooling racks allow the lye to drip down into a lexan so we can reuse the lye. We can't at any point touch the buns with a tool or our hands and dip them by hand because the dough is so delicate. If we do, the dough will squash. So we have to leave them on the rack for the proofing process and basting with the lye.

I am going to try a teflon cooling rack but I am unsure if the lye with eat through it or become toxic. We sprayed pan release all over the chrome rack we currently use but we still had sticking. It's driving us nuts and we have people clamoring for these pretzel brioche buns.. any help or advice would be much appreciated. Thank you! :)

david earls's picture
david earls

Preferment ingredient amounts - in or out of formulas?

When I took up baking a few years back, i did it with a bread machine. After a couple of months, I converted all my recipes to formulas and optimized the formulas for the size of the bread machine pan. Since the pan size is a constant, when I began using preferments, I split the baking process into two steps. Step 1 is to have the machine mix the preferment. Step 2 is to add the remaining ingredients to the machine and use the timer to set the finish time - 12 or 13 hours from when the preferment was mixed and the remaining ingredients added. This method produces excellent bread.

Lately I've been making most of my bread by hand, but I've continued "subtracting" the preferment flour and water from my final dough calculations. Baking at my house is all about loaf size - the loaf has to be a size my wife and I can eat at a single meal, and everything has to "fit" my baking equipment. So, for example, if I'm making a ciabatta with 200g of total flour, my poolish formula is 100g each of flour and water, and the dough is the remaining 100g of flour, any remaining water, etc.

I noticed that Ciril Hitz does not include the flour and water in preferments in his formula calculations. This caused me some very salty loaves - I was calculating salt as a percentage of total flour, he was calculating as percentage of dough flour. If you do it the Hitz way, how do you figure out how much preferment to add to a dough?

BTW, I keep a lot of notes when I bake, so my adapted process works very well for me. Just curious how others do it. Something tells me I'm doing it "wrong."

3 Olives's picture
3 Olives

Dividing the dough before bulk rising?

Is there any reason to not divide the dough before the bulk rise? I do it with slack doughs and it doesn't appear to make a difference.

bruneski's picture

Yeast and salt


While reading "Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day", I noticed that some of the standard steps in almost all recipes are

"... Warm the water slightly. ... Add yeast and salt (kosher or other coarse type) to the water in a 5-quart bowl. ... Don't worry about getting it all to dissolve. Mix in the flower --- kneading is unnecessary ..."

It also says that after all ingredients are well mixed, the dough should be allowed to rise, covered, at room temperature, until it begins to collapse (or at least to flatten on the top), approximately 2 hours.

Since one of the most basic things I learned here at TFL is that salt slows down yeast action, how can this dough described in the book rise and begin to collapse in just 2 hours?

Thanks. Have a great day!

yozzause's picture


Last week it was time to bake again time to use the culture that i look after at work, to be in readiness for an evening class "Introduction to Sour Dough"

The dough itself was the simple 3:2:1 Flour : Water :Culture the only difference was to step up the water by a further 100ml the salt was 2% other additions were Butter 2%,Turmeric powder @ 0.25% i decided on the Turmeric to possibly contrast the Feta cheese @ 4%  and black olives @ 2% 

The Feta and the olives were folded in in the last couple of fold and stretches. The dough was made first thing in the morning as it would be done for my class, i went back religiously every hour to do the stretch and folds  three repetitions in all  the last one incorporating the cheese and olives , i had prepared more chess but found that there seemed to be plenty. on my lunch break i went and shaped the dough pieces and got them onto the couches and into the cool room.

The following morning i got into work early in order to bake off the bread. Our  new ovens  heat up very quickly    

 so that after you have programmed in the time, temp, fan speed with moisture to go once the temp is up  

and then place your loaves out onto trays for any further preparation  it is almost time to get them in. on this occasion i was not washing them with a cornflour starch wash a is my usual practice especially if i am adding seeds. So it was just a matter of the slashes. 

In my evening class this is one of the things that the students will be doing. i have a sequence of pics now that were taken every 5 minutes  and you should be able to see the changes that take place when the dough pieces are subjected to the heat of the oven, theses Unox ovens allow you to witness this wonderful event that is so often out of site for many of us.

 The dough pieces are out from the cool room  after  some 17 hours  fortunate to have the luxury of laundered linen

table clothes for my couches

 all in the oven with the water injection happening

So there we have it, i also made another dough while i was waiting for this one to come out of the oven but will post that one later 2 doughs in 2 days

kind regards Yozza 

clearlyanidiot's picture

Mill bearings.

I finally got around to converting one of my mills for use with an exercise bike, but after doing so, I noticed the instructions that it came with say that you need to buy an optional ball bearing accessory for use with bike/motor.

After giving it some thought it strikes me that when you're turning a handle 360 degrees of the bearing experiences wear, thus wearing evenly, but when you have the mill driven by a chain or pulley the wear is always going to be in one spot on the bushing.

Has anyone had a problem with wearing out bushings in cheap mills? Or is this just the manufacturer trying to sell a product and then all the accessories one by one.

golfchef1's picture

translation help

wheat stalk=is is l epi  or d epi  ?