The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Most bookmarked

hamletcat's picture

Sourdough and diabetes?


I have read that sourdough breads are good for diabetics.  Could someone explain why this is true, because I have a number of diabetics in my family and they don't eat bread products and my understanding is because it spikes their blood sugar.  

jpatterson's picture

I need some starter help!

I recently have tried to make my own natural yeast start.  I am using whole wheat flour that nothing has been added and nothing removed.  I started with 2 tbsp. Pineapple juice and 2 tbsp flour.  I did that for a couple of days per instructions. Then I started to see bubbles on like the 3rd day and on the flour I switched to taking 1:1:1 ratio for starter, filtered water and flour.  I have tried finding the warm spot in my house but I don't know if that's my problem.  The thermometer says it 75 degrees.  I have even added 1/4 tsp of apple cider vinegar to wake the yeast up.  I have gotten the dark liquid on top and it does smell very ripe and yeasty, but I'm not really getting the bubble activity that I have seen in photos.  Am I just being impatient?

MBaadsgaard's picture

Those damn big holes!

Hello everybody. It's me again...

I am still on the quest for big holes, as I am still not getting much result.

I had one bread which I proudly posted in here, but I found that further into the bread, there really was no big holes.

So any suggestions for what I could try?

I have consistently worked with 75% hydration.I have tried varying salt amount.

- with and without salt.

- AP flour, bread flour, and all brands of flour I could find.

- kneading on machine for a short while for underdeveloped gluten, for 5-10 minutes, and for over 20 minutes until I got "spiderwebs" of gluten on the mixing tool.

- 3 hours Autolyse. Autolyse with slap and fold, and 15-20 minutes of slap and fold.

- leaving it to ferment with 3 stretch and folds, or with no stretch and folds.

- Tried focusing on trapping air in the dough when kneading (still the one I believe in the most)

- with poolish, cold leavened with yeast, sourdough, slow rise with yeast.

- baked freestanding on baking steel. Moved to clay pot with baking paper sling, baked with nothing but a preheated oven, baked non-preheated, baked with pizastone on top rack, baking steel, and steam from 2 bowls with lava rocks.


I get fairly decent oven spring, and I get a fairly airy loaf with a nice soft crumb, but it is a irritatingly perfect SANDWITH LOAF, and absolutely not even close to being anywhere in the ballpark of that nice rustique large-holed open crumb I am looking for :(

So a last little desperate attempt.. Any suggestions for what I could try?

CAphyl's picture

Tartine Experiments continued

Baked another Tartine loaf with increased hydration, looking for the perfect crumb (which, of course, can never be achieved!)  We had this loaf for lunch with my husband's sister and her husband, Bob the baker from England.  They leave today, so we enjoyed lunch outside in the California sun.  Bob gave the bread passing marks. They return to Liverpool (and a bit of rain) this afternoon.  They did have rain here and in Las Vegas during their visit.

We enjoyed the bread, and I will continue my experiments in hydration. I believe I may try a WW recipe next.

dabrownman's picture

We need to get this guy

Janet Yang's picture
Janet Yang

Convection oven

What adjustments are necessary when using a convection oven? Do I shorten the baking time or lower the temp—or both?

I use a La Cloche covered baker, keeping the lid on for the first part of baking. Since the convection currents aren't reaching the dough, does that mean no adjustments are necessary until the lid is removed? 


hamletcat's picture

New to bread making, questions


I am new to bread baking (without a bread maker).  And I just have a few questions or things that I don't fully understand.  

- some recipes say bake the bread at 350 some say 450.  What is the difference in using high temperatures?

-why do some recipes have you bake the bread inside a dutch oven as opposed to just baking a loaf in a metal bread pan in the oven?


I think I have been trying to bake a decent loaf of bread for almost two years, and I think part of it is my lack of understanding in how the process works.  Thanks in advance.


hamletcat's picture

Leaving starter without feeding it


I was wondering what might happen if I took my dough and left it for about a week or so, without feeding it.  Could I still use it?  Could I use it the way it is to bake bread like the no knead method, or would the gluten bread down after this long.  Would putting in the fridge help?  

The reason I am asking is that I am currently using soyflour to make bread products, and it contains a lot of sugar which the yeast breaks down.  I am fructose intolerant so this really helps me be able to digest it.  However, I am finding that it is difficult to prepare 8 hours in advance which is about how long it takes.  I am just curious if I could mix up one big batch and leave it in the fridge, and just use it when I need it.  Sort of like the artisan bread in 5 minutes a day method.


zoyerteyg's picture

Sourdough Geoff's Multigrain Bread

Having benefited from the collective wisdom of other Fresh Loafers for a while, I thought it was time to make a contribution. This bread is a sourdough adaptation of a straight-dough whole-wheat multigrain loaf with honey and dried malt that my much-loved late father-in-law used to make with a bread machine.

The family always loved it, and when I took up bread baking asked me to replicate it. They claim my version tastes the same, which of course can't be true because the technique has changed. Anyway, I've been tinkering with the recipe for a few years, influenced by the Hamelman whole-wheat multigrain bread and more recently by various bloggers on this site, especially David Snyder. Today's loaf had easily the best oven spring so far and tastes good too. The crackly crust was especially satisfying.



I thought it might be worth sharing the recipe because it has a couple of unusual features for a whole-wheat multigrain both of which are retained from my father-in-law's original formula, namely the high proportion (72%) of whole-wheat flour and the inclusion of the dried malt. Here goes:


Overall Formula (makes two large loaves) 

   643g            whole-wheat flour                                                                                                              72.1%

     20g            culture whole-wheat flour

   257g            bread flour                                                                                                                          27.9%

     64g            cracked wheat or rye                                                                                                            7.0%

     64g            steel-cut oats (or other grain)                                                                                               7.0%

     55g            linseed (or other seed)                                                                                                          6.0%

     28g            dried malt                                                                                                                             3.0%

     28g            honey                                                                                                                                    3.0%

     18g            salt                                                                                                                                        2.0%

   723g            water                                                                                                                                   80%

     13g            culture water



Levain build

   113g            whole-wheat flour (+20g culture flour)                                                                              72.3%

     51g            bread flour                                                                                                                         27.7%

   107g            water (+13g culture water)                                                                                                 65.2%

     33g            stiff whole-wheat culture                                                                                                   20.1%


Prepare the levain around 12 hours before the final mix, and ideally leave it to ferment at 21°C.



   183g            grains and seeds                                                                                                            100%

   183g            boiling water                                                                                                                   100%

       4g            salt                                                                                                                                      2.2%


Prepare the soaker at the same time as the levain, and leave it to stand in a covered bowl at room temperature.


Final Dough

   530g            whole-wheat flour

   206g            bread flour

   433g            water

     28g            dried malt

     28g            honey

     14g            salt

   304g            levain

   370g            soaker           




  1. Mix without kneading all the final dough flour and water in a bowl until the water has been incorporated.
  2. Cover the bowl and leave the flour and water to autolyse for up to 60 mins. The target dough temperature is 24.5°C.
  3. Add the soaker and honey, sprinkle on the salt and dried malt, add the levain, and mix roughly until all the final dough ingredients are loosely incorporated.
  4. Hand-knead the dough (I don't own a mixer) for 12-15 minutes until it acquires some body and the gluten has developed perceptibly. It will be sloppy and almost unmanageable at first, but starts to settle down after a few minutes.
  5. Bulk-ferment the dough for 3 hours 20 minutes, folding three times at intervals of 50 mins.
  6. Divide the dough into two equal pieces, then lightly pre-shape them round and leave to rest for about 10 minutes.
  7. Shape the dough pieces into boules or batards, optionally coat them with sesame seeds or cracked grain, then place them seam-side up in bannetons covered by plastic or inverted bowls.
  8. Proof for 2-2½ hours, ideally at 24.5°C. Alternatively, refrigerate the bannetons for 14-18 hours. If retarding in the fridge, leave the bannetons out at room temperature beforehand for up to 1 hour and afterwards for 3-5 hours, depending on the state of the dough.
  9. Pre-heat the oven well in advance of the bake at 240°C. However, if using a peel and stone, pre-heat the oven at 255°C to allow for the loss of heat when loading the loaves.
  10. Score the loaves and transfer them to the oven.
  11. Straight after loading the loaves, steam the oven and, if using a peel and stone, reduce the oven temperature to 240°C.
  12. After 20 minutes, lower the heat to 225°C and remove your steaming device.
  13. Bake the loaves for about another 30 (batards)-35 (boules) minutes, until fully baked and crusty.
  14. Take the loaves out of the oven and leave them to cool thoroughly (six hours or longer) before tasting.


This recipe includes a few innovations compared to my earlier versions of the bread, mainly the high 80% hydration level, the long bake, and above all the long proofing time at room temperature after fridge retardation. The extended final proofing was forced on me because we had to do some shopping in the morning, but the dough had hardly moved in the fridge and I was curious to see what happened. In the end, I left the loaves out for 4 hours 15 minutes and they don't seem to have suffered. I was worried that the sourdough acid aftertaste would be too prominent, but the flavour turned out balanced and wheaty.

It's certainly a denser bread than most, but there's enough expansion to keep the denseness at a pleasant level. And to my taste it's not remotely like the caricature of a whole-wheat brick. I hope you're interested to give it a try.

VinumVita's picture

KA Pro 600 - Noisy Gearbox?

Hello All... I'm new to bread baking and have recently bought my first stand up mixer, a KitchenAid Pro 600 (RKP26M1XPM). I bought the unit refurbished and am now concerned having read about the trouble people have had with these unit's gearboxes.

I've noticed that when on low speed (stir), the unit occasionally makes a particularly troubling noise.  The video below demonstrates the issue.  I am hoping that someone will tell me if this is a typical sounds for the unit or if I should consider having it repaired under its warranty.


-- Terrence

(Please adjust your speakers before playing... the sound is noisy!)

KitchenAid Pro 600 Stir 


Here is a link to the unit operating on speed 2.  This seems ok to me.