The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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dabrownman's picture

Happy Rosh Hashanah – A Holiday Challah

We were going to make a multi-grain challah but, at the last minute, decided to do a more typical one.  It is white bread with saffron, honey, sugar, egg and oil.  Pretty standard except the honey sugar egg and oil are a little less than the standard traditional challah - if there is such a thing.


The unusual thing about this challah is it is a mixed up levain of YW, SD and poolish  Why do one when you do all three at once for the Holidays?  This levain was (2) 5 hour builds and then a 1 hour one before being retarded overnight in the fridge for 12 hours.


When it all came together the next morning we did 12 minutes of slap and folds and 2 sets of S&F’s before a 1 1.2 hour counter top bulk ferment.  We shaped a Franz Joesph roll, a small 4 strand braid roll where the ends were rotated around to kind of make an octopus looking thing. Then we did a big 6 strand challah that was supposed to be round but ended up kind of square of some reason that escapes my apprentice completely.


A good 2 ¾ hour final proof and the bread was egg washed and tossed in to the mini oven without much steam other than a ¼ C of water thrown in tot bottom.  We did 5 minutes at 400, and 5 at 375 F then rotated the lot and turned the oven to 5 minutes of convection at 375F.   Then we baked n additional 20 minutes at 350 F convection when the large challah was done at 195 F - 35 minutes total.  The small rolls were done in 20 minutes.


The small rolls didn’t brown as much but were nicely golden, shiny and blistered and the large challah was dark brown shiny and blistered.  All puffed themselves up well in the mini’s heat.   My daughter came home in the middle of the bake and said they smelled grand and wanted to eat one of the rolls but my apprentice defending them.


The bread should go well with tonight’s brisket dinner based on Aunt Beve’s recipe the is sweet and hot just kike she was in life,   Beverly passed away last year and we miss her way more than we can convey.

There is no question that this n=brad needed to proof another hour at least.   But, dinner nneeded a challah so it was baked off.  It wasn't horrible at all.  The crust was just terrific and the taste was wonderful but..... my daughter said 'this bread is dense' and she was right.  Instead of proofing to 85% it needed to go to 150%. time....when we have more time.  The dinner was great, The brisket was some of the very best - fork tender, jjuicy and flavorful - my daughter could not get enough of it.

And New Year's breakfast of French toast, a sausage, berries and a sliced peach.

The gravy from the braise  was so tasty with the Sambal garlic,  chili sauce in the heat background.  The brown sugar and tomato paste made for the sweet.  Sweet and hot just like Aunt Beve and just as tender  as she was.  No one except her brother could ever be as gracious.  This character trait runs intthe family through her children. .  She always made the best brisket.... that wasn't smoked.  Then the sunset made for a the perfect start for the New Year.

With a nice salad and the background of roasted veggie made up of eggplant, summer squash, mushrooms, yams, red and russet potato, onion and carrot with a splash of sweet and pan sauteed green beens and spicy gravy, the meal was simple and simply satisfying,

The best in life to each of you for the New Year!


Pinch of ADY plus

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Build 2

Build 3



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Water 167, Yeast Water 90






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Ilse's picture

Does a recipe need to be adapted?

Hello again!

Does my recipe need to be adapted from just mixing the dough by hand to kneading it with a doughmixer?  All my recipes seem to react totally different.



Bill and Annie's picture
Bill and Annie

Bread Pans

I have embarked on a mission to bake bread in several different varieties. Can someone suggest the right size loaf pans to use? I am really tired of using the old standard 9 X 5 pan.

Ilse's picture

Help again :-)

Good morning

My clay oven takes about 24 loaves at a time, but my new dough mixer only kneads about 6 loaves (I think) (it's a 20lt mixer) at a time.  How do I go about kneading enough dough so that I will have enough at the right time for the oven.  Surely the batch that has been kneaded first will be better with having had more time to rise?

Thank you


Ilse's picture

How much dry ingredients for a 20lt dough mixer?

Good morning

I've just purchased a 20lt dough mixer and I would like to know how much flour/water (in kg) it can take without straining the machine?  On the machine it says 20pd for wholewheat flour, but I'm not sure if that includes the water.




VonildaBakesBread's picture

Wheat Berries' life

How long can wheat berries be stored? I was given a bagful that has been stored for 2+ years. Thanks!



VonildaBakesBread's picture

Reinhart Sandwich Loaf

Why are my attempts at Reinhart WW Sandwich Loaf turning out a loaf that is soft, bordering on gummy in the middle? Am I just not  cooking it enough, or am I not adding enough flour, since I'm using Dry Active Yeast instead of Instant?



Allenph's picture

Hydration issue with artisan bread!

All right, well, long story short I did some research on hydration percentages because my bread was turning out a little dense. After some research, my understanding was that you add the weight of the dry ingredients up and then sum up the weight of the wet ingredients, and finally divided the weight of the wet ingredients by the dry ingredients. I'm trying to make some baguettes,  but my dough is REALLY dry, I think I've done something wrong. I do not have a scale, so I researched the average weight of a cup of water, and a cup of flour. YES, I do know how to measure flour directly, I did not dig. 

Assumed 125g per cup of flour, and 237g per cup of water.

1 1/4 Cups Water (296g)

3 1/2  Cups Flour (437)

1 Tablespoon Yeast

1 Tablespoon Salt

I'm trying to make French bread, which (I think.) has a 65-70% hydration percentage. I came up with 69% which is the high end of French bread.

My dough is so dry, I'm having trouble incorporating all of the flour. Hopefully I get a response in time to save this loaf, but if not I'll start over. Help!

Gramma Berries's picture
Gramma Berries

Sourdough starter floated!

I mixed up my bread in my kitchen aid, it looked like the videos- I until I went to remove it. It was very wet and sticky.  I put oil on it and got it into a bowl it is now raising. I hope. My question is -  how long into the knead could I have added flour. I imagine it is going to be too late now. I will see if it rises, and go from there. 

patman23's picture

Feedback On My Recipe Please....

Hello everyone,

Ive worked out the bugs of my Whole Wheat bread recipe.  This is just a simple sandwich loaf bread.  Nothing too fancy...

I have included my recipe for your review.  If you see anything that needs to be changed or any have any suggestion please feel free to let me know.  Blessings,,,,


Bread Recipe



4-6 cups of WW flour

1 tsp of yeast

Enough water to make a loose dough



Combine all ingredients and cover in a glass or SS bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Allow to sit on counter for at least 16 hours up to 24.  If it’s going to be longer then place the soaker in your fridge until you are ready to make the bread.



6-8 cups of WW flour

3-4 cups of King Author White Bread four

1 tbsp yeast

Enough whole milk to make a stiff dough



Mix for 10 min on a low speed

Cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge until you are ready to make the bread.  At least 16 hours but it can go as long as a week in your fridge and still be great.



The Dough:

Place both bowl on your counter until they both come up to room temp.  About 8 hours.

Cut the Bigga into small cubes and places back into your mixing bowl.  

3 tsp salt

2/3 cup honey

1 ½ stick of real butter softened (do not use margarine)

Add the Soaker and mix on low for about 10 min.  Add white flour if needed to make a very tacky but not a sticky dough.  You may need to add more water to get the consistency you are looking for.

Prep a bowl with cooking spray and let rise until doubled. Covered by plastic wrap.

Punch down and weigh out 800g loaves, should make 4 or 5 dough balls.

Prep your loaf pans with cooking spray.

Allow your dough balls to rest for 20 min on the counter, covered with a damp towel.

Shape your loaves and place in prepped loaf pans.

Spray the top of each loaf with cooking spray and cover with plastic wrap.  Allow to rise until doubled. 

Meanwhile preheat your oven to 500 degrees.  Once the dough has doubled brush the tops with milk and place in the oven.  Immediately lower the oven to 350. 

Bake for about 45 min or until the internal temp reaches 200.

Cool on a rack

Brush tops with melted butter.

Once they are cool, place them in bread bags.  Should last about 5 days on your counter.