The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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Plantaholic12's picture

What size should sandwich bread be?

No, not how wide is a pickle, but how wide should bread be? The humorous responses should be easy enough: wide enough to wipe your face, wide enough to hide the peanut butter, etc, etc.

I pose this question as I have been struggling with my conversion from a Kitchen Aid Pro 600 with stripped gears ( I confess, I make whole wheat bread, two loaves every two weeks, for breakfast toast, and in 80 weeks I killed my worm follower gear ) to a Bosch Universal Plus mixer.

My trials are detailed in another section of this forum, I believe I'm close to adapting.

But this question keeps popping up: how big should a slice of sandwich bread be? I want toast, whole wheat, two slices everyday with my eggs and potatoes. Most any size will do, but I want the American slice, the one that fits the toaster without trimming but sticks up tall enough that I don't burn myself.

I went to the current "source of all knowledge", google, went to the images and found the one attached to this post. There was also a photo of Billy Cystal with a head ache...why??

But there was no American Standard Measurement for a slice of sandwich bread. Like 4 1/4 by 5 3/4 by3/8 inches. Just like that.

Maybe I should start getting my compost tea brewer ready for spring. Maybe this baking avocation is too much. Maybe I'm over yeasted.

Can any one guide me to a standard loaf size, 9 x 5 x??



mattprince's picture

What size tin for straight bread?



What size bread tin do you use to get it a nice straight shape? Im using a 2lb tin and the shape is coming out like a mushroom.



metropical's picture

100% hydration conversion to 60%?

I have a 100% (mostly) AP hydration starter that I'd like to take a bit and use for a 60% ciabatta recipe.

Is that possible or do I need to start anew?

mattprince's picture

Funny Shape


Ive made a few loaves now (all just normal white) and use a bread tin. I made a big effort to kneed better and for 10 mins today and the loaf has definitely improved. One thing i can't seem to find an answer to is why my loaves are turning out a funny shape (see above)?



BetsyMePoocho's picture

Water Variations

Hey Folks,

I'm looking for advise, comments, or pros/cons of using bottled mineral/sparkling water, not tonic or club soda, in my dough mix........

I think that I read some years ago that using it had some value (?).

I used it in the baguettes pictured, but would still like some of your thoughts..........

Thanks mucho......



Magsmuffin's picture

Hello all !

Hello all at The Fresh Loaf.

I've been flicking through the pages and have to say, I'm absolutely impressed with the site. It has everything I've been looking for but up until now, not been able to find.

I love baking but, up until reading one of Dan Lepard's books, I didn't have the courage to venture into the scary task of baking bread. After a year of lots of frustrating failures, I'm starting to produce some simple loaves (good enough to at least impress my family). Hopefully, with your help, I might one day be able to improve enough to tackle the more complicated stuff. However, until then there's an awful lot I need to learn.

Looking forward to getting to know everyone and reading all your tips and advice.



dmsnyder's picture

New Years Pizze

My wife and I had a quiet New Years day. Very mellow, except for dinner. My wife gets pretty excited when I make pizza.

I again used Ken Forkish's formula for a sourdough pizza crust. After my successful experience fermenting my SFSD dough in my proofing box (San Francisco-style Sourdough and dishes made with it), I did the same with the pizza dough. The result was pretty much the same as I had had last Summer with this dough (Pizza Bliss), which is to say it was delicious - very flavorful with a mild to moderate sourdough tang. The rim was puffed up and very crisp. Really good eating.

I made two mushroom pizza. One had olive oil, finely chopped fresh rosemary, sliced garlic and mozzarella. The other had olive oil, tomato sauce (from Floyd's Pizza Primer) and mozzarella. 

Wishing you all Happy Baking and a delicious 2014!



CeciC's picture

Hamelman's 5 Grains Bread with RYW and Commercial Yeast

Hybrid YW Five-Grain Bread        
Total Weight884.5      
Weight per Serving884.5      
Total Flour 500     
Total Water 429     
Total Hydration 85.80%     
Multi-grain % 33.80%     
Total Levain 270     
 Build 1Build 2Build 3SoakerFinal DoughAdd-InTotal
White Starter (100%)      0
Wholewheat Starter      0
Rye Starter      0
Yeast Water Levain (100%)60     60
 60     60
Flour      0
Extra-High Protein Flour (>14%)      0
Bread Flour 30  271 301
AP Flour      0
Wholemeal Flour      0
Wholewheat Flour 90  79 169
Rye Flour    0 0
Water 45 189120 354
Milk      0
Yeast Water 45    45
Others      0
Yeast    2.5 2.5
Salt    13 13
Cinnamon (2 Tbs)      0
ADD-IN      0
Chopped Wheat berries    35  0
Flaxseeds   35  0
Sunflower Seeds   40  0
Oats   40  0
- Autolyse all ingridient (except Salt & Yeast)60 Min      
- Add Salt, yeast  Mixed with Pincer Method       
- S&F 2 times @ 30, 60min interval       
- Total Bulk Fermentation @ 66F3h 30mNeed more as the crust was on the pale side     
Second Proof1.5HR      
Bake - Cover20      
Bake -Uncover25      

I got Hamelman's book as my christmas present I decided to use its 5 grains bread as my New Year Bake. I deviated from the book by

1) sub YW levain with Pete Fermente

2) pre-ferments hydration increased to 75%. 

3) Increase Water to compensate my substitution of WW for Bread flour to increase its multi-grains content. 

Since the room temp has dropped to 66F, I extended the Bulk fermentation to 3:30, but I think its still hasnt fully fermented. Next time I would have give it another hour. 

I baked it in a dutch oven covered 20min and uncovered for 25mins. 





The dough was on the stiff side, Next time another 100g of water should be added. 

Crumb shot:



This post has been submitted to

breadforfun's picture

SFBI Miche and Fig Pecan for New Year

It has been a while since I posted, although I have been baking regularly.  For New Years I made a few breads and thought I would add my voice to those who have had wonderful success with David's posting of the SFBI Miche on TFL.  When I first started baking sourdough breads I was totally intrigued by the photo of a large miche on the cover of Reinhart's Bread Bakers Apprentice.  I spent months trying to master it, with only moderate success.  But an attraction to the miche loaf has stayed with me, and I really enjoy making these large loaves.

Since David posted the SFBI recipe, I have made it half a dozen times.  The picture of a miche that I have in my head, though, is something a bit flatter and more spread out.  I thought I might be able to attain this look by increasing the hydration above the 73.4% in the recipe.  Over my last three bakes, I have worked the hydration up to 78%, and I'm pretty sure it can take even more water.  Still, the 78% results are worth sharing, so here are some photos.  I will continue to try for the flatter loaf, but in the meantime I'm happy to enjoy these.

Like David, I keep Central Milling's Type-85 high extraction flour in my pantry just for the miche.  I made a batch of 3.6 kg of dough that required a 4 hour bulk ferment, keeping the temperature at 75˚F.  I did a total of 4 stretch & folds at 30, 60, 90 and 150 min.  It was divided and shaped into two ~1000 gm batards (see below for a variation) and one 1550 gm boule and proofed at RT for one hour.  One batard and the miche were refrigerated overnight (about 18 hours) and baked on a stone directly from the refrigerator the next day.

The crumb on the loaf is light, airy and transparent.

The flavor is tangy, wheaty, even a little earthy.  The crust had a good chew and the crumb was somewhat soft but with a good mouth feel.

There was one other variation that I made.  Varda's post describing fig and anise bread, with links to several other posts, made me want to try another attempt at a fig bread.  My earlier attempts were not that successful, and I also wanted to add nuts to the bread in place of the anise.  I felt that this dough would lend itself to this so after the first 30 min. of the BF I divided off 1000 gm of dough and folded in 20% each of soaked dry figs and toasted pecans.  Phil made a similar loaf, so I borrowed his technique of final proof in the refrigerator for 3 hours rather than an overnight retard.  The results were quite respectable.  The crumb is not as open, unsurprisingly, which gave the bread a nice chew.  Perfect as a base for a bit of soft cheese.


Happy New Year everyone!


willme's picture

Pugliese puzzle

Hi everyone,

I'm very new to baking bread and I'm trying to understand it all. I would appreciate any help with the following problem.

I've been trying to get to grips with Pugliese style bread. Specifically the open chewy texture.

Every loaf I've produced so far has been delicious and chewy but no large holes. There are irregular holes, some small some big but none big enough to put your finger in...

My recipe/method is as follows:


Bread Flour + 5% Dark Rye + Yeast + Water (let it stand for ~18 hours then in the fridge)


Bread Flour (protein ~12%)

Water 78%

20% Biga




Water + Biga + Yeast mixed until milky

Flour and Salt in. Then mix mix mix in a stand mixer

Mix some more

Test gluten development with window pane test

Mix some more

After sufficient gluten development. Scrape into oiled tub with lid and left in warm ambient temperature ~26C for around 3 hours to triple in volume.

Looks good lots of holes, some large but only about 1-2cm.

Tip it out onto work surface. Not too much flour. Lightly fold and shape (have tried not doing this step).

Final proof for about an hour. Rises well looks very light and bubbly. 

Sprinkle with flour lightly dimple and into a 210C oven without steam.

30-35 minutes, internal temperature 97-99C. Cool for a couple of hours.

Cut it open and...

Disappointment. No large holes.

What am I doing wrong? Should I fold and rise a few times before the main proof? Wrong flour?

Please help!