The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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DoubleMerlin's picture



I'm a 19-year-old bread baker living in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area of Minnesota, USA. I'm researching sourdough at the University of Minnesota on my way to getting a Food Science B.S.

I love all things fermented, especially bread. Gluten is my friend, and I want nothing more than to make the best breads all of the time.



JoeV's picture

Having a sausage & hot dog party.

We're having some friends over for a get-together, and we're serving Kielbasi, Bratwurst and smoked Slovenian sausages, as well as hot dogs for those less adventurous (read: woosies). I made up some buns for the "tube steaks" using my egg bread formula (I also do this with my Italian bread formula as well). When they were baked I tried one with a smoked Slovenian sausage with spicy mustard, horseradish and homemade sauerkraut for lunch, just to make sure they were going to be OK. As you can tell, I lived to write about it. LOL


For those who have never made hot dog buns, I use 2.8 to 3.0 ounces of dough for each bun. After they are weighed out, shape the portion into a tight ball and allow to rest for 3-5 minutes. Then using the palm of your hand, roll the ball into a tube about 4" long and allow to rest again for a few minutes. Lastly, roll each tube to about 6" to 6-1/2" in length. The tubes should be symmetrical along the length. I baked mine at 390F for 15 minutes, and used a whole egg egg wash to brown the tops. Here's a YouTube video that describes a slightly different approach, but will help those like me who do better with pictures. LOL

Janetcook's picture

100% Whole Wheat Sweet Potato Pecan Bread



I couldn't resist posting today's bake for a couple of reasons.  The first being that this formula has won lots of praise from those for whom I currently bake.  The second reason stems from the fact that it is a result of good old tweaking.  It was inspired by a recent post of hanseata's.  

I generally follow a new formula pretty closely when I first bake it but, depending on how the loaf turns out, subsequent bakes find me tweaking away a bit here and a bit there.  I have always found Karin's breads to be excellent and her Pumpkin Whey Bread was no exception but this loaf has ended up with its own section in one of my bread binders- right next to its original format.

At the same time of Karin's post several other people blogged about breads using similar ingredients and so those found their way into my new formula along with ideas out of my Flavor Bible.

The end result being a bread containing:


sweet potatoes

maple syrup


toasted pecans


No crumb shot since this loaf and the others all were given to other households.  Reports were of a nice soft moist crumb full of flavor.

Before finding TFL I never would have tried altering a recipe to such a degree.  Now I never know if a formula will stay in its original form in my records or if it will lead me to something totally unexpected.  This loaf was one of the latter and the adventure was quite fun.



ichadwick's picture

Hello; new enthusiast from small town Ontario

I just joined the forum and I'd like to say thanks to everyone for the entertaining, educational and informative discussions I've read on this site.They have been very inspiring and helpful over the past month.

I recently started making bread again after about 20 years of absence. Handmade, artisanal breads, no bread machine (yet). I've had reasonably good results to date, but I'm still looking to perfect the loaves and branch out to other styles.

And I am becoming quite keen on the historical process of breadmaking.

I've posted a couple of blog pieces and photos on my own site, and Facebook notes about my progress to date. I bake something new every 3-5 days, tinkering with the process or recipe each time to see what I can create.

My keen desire is to make good, crusty, chewy rustic bread. I'm close, but the loaf still needs work. I bought the book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day and have been working from it and from blog posts about it, to master the basic bread. I keep getting distracted by my innate desire to experiment.

I face a few limitations for further development: in a small town, resources are limited to what the grocery store chains offer (good, Canadian commercial flours like Robin Hood and Five Roses: pretty much limited to all-purpose white, unbleached and whole wheat), although I have a ready supply of some alternative flours at the local Bulk Barn (but not all, like pumpernickel rye). I can make a trip to Toronto (about 2-2.5 hours away) if anyone can suggest a source of materials there.

I also learned from my reading that all-purpose Canadian flour is higher protein than US flour, so I'm not sure if I need to alter recipes to account for our flour.

Yeasts here are also limited to the commercial Fleishman's types (seems to be the only choice). So far they've worked fine, but I'd like to try other varieties. Sourdough is high on my list as a project (but in a house full of cats and dogs, I'm a bit unsure about the wild yeast...). So I'm in search of a starter from an outside source I can use to get my own going. 

I'm also awaiting a baking stone to work with, due this coming week from Amazon. So far I've been using a cookie sheet or a ceramic pot. They work fine, by the way.

And in the future I may get a bread maker, but need to research the models and brands a lot more before I commit to the investment.

My other interest is the historical aspect of baking and bread: what bread did Chaucer eat? Shakespeare? How did yeast get domesticated? What grains were used by the Egyptians? By the Normans? And so on. Any links to books on the history of breadmaking would be appreciated.

Anyway, thanks to everyone for providing a great resource for neophyte bread makers like me.

havefaith's picture

Hello from FL and Thank you

After reading everything I could on this site over the last week, yesterday was the day to bake my first loaf of SD bread. My starter was 9 days old & I was ready to go!  But then I found myself confused  about the different methods and came up against 'stiff' or 'wet' starter?  I read more and asked did I knead too much or too little, the dough was sticky & maybe I should slap and fold? It didn't took like it was rising enough - more reading about 'proofing'- too much too little?  and how should I try to bake - stone, with steam or without, baking sheet, how long. I realized I had read too much trying to take the best ideas and put them all together. I started at 10 am & it is was 8 pm. I decided I had to make some decisions and put the dough in my clay cooker and put it in the refrigerator.  This morning I took it out and realized I wouldn't learn how if I didn't try!  I left the dough alone to warm up and maybe rise. But after 4 hours it hadn't changed much at all.  I soaked the clay cooker lid, set the bottom part with the dough in some water for about 5 minutes, put on the top and put in a cold oven at 475.  After 50 minutes and an extra 5 to brown, my bread was done!  It was stuck and I was prepared to have bread crumbs. But it came loose and while it didn't look like SF SD it smelled pretty good!  My first loaf isn't beautiful, except to me, and I have much to learn but my reward was when I crunched into my first bite. How I've missed my SF SD and now I was tasting that great flavor again.  Thanks for all the help and learning once more there are a lot of ways to reach the end result if you just try!

cooltubnoac's picture

Need Help with this recipe...please.

HI All!

I've been making all of my family's bread for years and I'm still a rank amateur. I started with Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes then moved on to Floyd's Honey Whole Wheat bread and now am using a mix of recipes. Bottom line bread just isn't rising that much. I end up with a very tasty but very dense loaf and I'm not sure where I'm going wrong. I am trying to make a very high protein bread using heirloom wheat.

3 cups whole wheat (fresh milled eikhorn) flour - I used to use Turkey Red but they won't sell the berries and I like to grind my own

2.5 c water

1.5 c hemp seed

5 TBSP chia seed

Combine in mixing bowl and cover with damp towel for at least an hour then add in the rest below

3 TBSP melted butter

1/4 c honey

1 TBSP salt

1TBSP yeast in 1/4 c warm water with a dash of honey - once it has bloomed up to the top of the cup it is ready to be added

2 cups chopped walnuts

4-6 cups of whole wheat flour until dough isn't crazy sticky (I used to use weights but the recipe I found didn't and I just got away from it so now it's mostly just a "feel")

I use my DLX Electolux assistent to knead it for 5-10 minutes

form into a ball and place in a warmed clay bowl greased with coconut oil and covered with clingwrap until it rises ~ 2x initial size

Then turn out dough and cut dough in half and knead it once on each side to form into a loaf

Put into 2 greased loaf pans and cover with clingwrap. Wait 1-2 hours - it rises some but not a whole lot.

Poke holes in loaves with toothpick and put in 360 oven for 30 minutes


Any advice will be appreciated. I make this recipe every week to every other week so can fiddle with it over time.


mahonie's picture

Yet to have success!


I am determined to bake bread and rolls and am having so many problems.  Have tried bread machines, KA and making by hand and so far, nothing too tasty.

Recipes seem to go well until the second rise.  I have a JennAir oven with a proof feature that seems to work well.  At the end of the second rise they are beautiful until I remove them from the oven to preheat to baking time.  My oven takes more than a few minutes to heat up to baking temp and my dough always falls during this time.  I try to keep warm but our home is cold and I think the temperature change makes the dough fall.  The one reason I bought this oven was because of this feature!  I have always had a hard time getting dough to rise because our home is so cool so thought this would be a great solution.  I have also had the dough deflate while taking off the plastic wrap used to cover while rising.  Always so promising.......

If it is not going to be possible to use my oven proof feature anyone have any fool proof ideas to getting the dough to rise and stay risen while I am waiting for my oven?





BigelowBaker's picture

WFO vs Dutch Oven Baking?

I've been considering jumping in and building a WFO for a long time, however, logistically, it would be very difficult where I live. Over the past few months, though, I've really gotten into baking in Dutch ovens, and the results have been amazing.

So, I'm curious if there's anyone out there who's baked in both dutch ovens and WFO's and can speak to the differences/similarities in the quality of the loaves. I know WFO's are hands down better in terms of ability to bake in quantity and for things like pizzas, but for regular loaves, is there much of a difference from loaves baked in Dutch Ovens?

Here's a pic of some of my dutch oven results for comparison sake :)

CeciC's picture

YW and sourdough levain Longan and goji berries 5 grains bread

taking into DA's advise finally been able to bake a loaf with a moist and soft crumb. Adding the soak water of long an and goji berries give this bread a sweetness tang. 

Abelbreadgallery's picture

Whole Spelt braid with nuts, sultanas and maple syrup

An adaptation of the Half-whole braid recipe included in the book Pan Casero by Iban Yarza (Larousse).

I added more whole grain flour, in this case, spelt instead of regular wheat. I added maple syrup instead of honey and change the kind of nuts and dried fruits.

A rustic pastry to enjoy with friends and family.