The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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HappyHighwayman's picture

Dough dried out overnight

Two questions:


1. If my dough dries out after an overnight rise in the fridge, even with plastic wrap on top, does that mean my fridge is just too cold, too dry or I didn't use enough water in the dough?


2. Follow up, I had to add a fair bit of extra water to the Bagel recipe in the Artisan Jewish Deli At Home book recipe to get the dough to form, and then it still seemed a little on the dry side. Would that explain #1? Should I just add more water next time? It used both yeast and sourdough starter and called for an overnight rise in the fridge.



lsteenwyk's picture

Baking powder for muffins

Well - had my first experience with variations in baking powder formulas.  I was making a buttermilk based muffin. I used Clabor Girl initially - the muffins were fine, but not great.  My husband picked up Argo double acting at the store - and holy cow did the muffins rise!  But now they are crumbly, break apart easily and aren't very moist.

What is the best baking powder for muffins?

What is the best baking powder for cakes?  I don't want to use this Argo brand in a cake and have it explode!

Thanks -



bikeprof's picture

Slack dough troubleshooting

So I have had a few occasions (esp. lately) in making Tartine Basic Country bread in which I end up with pretty slack dough in the final shape and proof.  Crumb ends up a bit dense, dry, and tough, crust is tough, with a grainy texture and is a bit thick but not very crispy.

I take these as indicators of degradation due to too much enzyme activity, and I'm looking for some confirmation and guidance on steps to take and what to watch.  I have been playing with time and temperature as I get a schedule that works for me, so it is not a big surprise. I do have a DIY proofing box for control, and the main changes I have made are trying to follow the instructions more closely in terms of temps - and so have been adding warmer water in particular for all of the stages. I also have a very active starter, which I think I am discovering the limits of.

In any case, one question I have is whether my over night levain build needs to be slowed/shortened.  In the morning, it is what I would describe as fully developed - not quite fallen back in on itself, but approaching that stage, as it collapses dramatically when I put a spoon in it.

The next culprit is my bulk fermentation...and here my temp.’s are at or just below those recommended in the book, and my time is right in the range recommended. I also thought I have been catching the dough near its peak...quite airy but not close to the point of collapsing.  I have not been using a straight sided graduated container to track volume increases, in favor of looking at how the dough looks and feels at each turn on the half hour. BTW - I am no newbie (but clearly have tons to learn!) and have made some very good loaves with this recipe, but I guess my judgment of the development of this dough and my system of controls needs work.  I could use input here as well, as I end up with dough that lacks elasticity and the bake ends up producing the poor qualities described above.

Not the ugliest loaf, but it really isn't very good...


108 breads's picture
108 breads

Four favorite breads I make over and over

Top 4 breads from the first 40. These are all sourdough recipes and most are good for a normal working schedule of someone who has not yet opened the oft-fantasized bakery.

The breads are a rye, a whole wheat, a spelt and a white.

littlelisa's picture

back with wood fire and excitement!!

Hi all

I haven't been around this site for ages - amongst other things, had a new baby girl and renovated a new house :-) Renovation included installing a pre-cast pizza/bread oven, so I'm all fired up (in all senses) to do some killer baking again, woo too!!

Greetings from a sunny Cape Town, South Africa and looking forward to lots more bread geek exchanges :-)


BU2B's picture

Hello from Scotland.

I've been dabbling with bread making over the years and wanting to take it a bit more "seriously". Looking forward to seeing how far I can go with this.

I went through Lesson 1 yesterday, and while not without fault, quite pleased with the result:)


Mark Sealey's picture
Mark Sealey

Mac bread software?

Anyone know of an alternative to BreadStorm, please?

Something like that is what I think I'd find useful - but support seems almost non-existent; and it's very expensive…


frumgirl's picture

Whole Wheat/Whole Grain Sourdough

I've been making a lot of breads from Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads book lately but I do wish I could manipulate the recipes to give me more of a sourdough taste (and I like my sourdoughs super sour). Has anyone done this with success?

I was thinking that I might remove the instant yeast from the final doughs and replace it with sourdough starter...but I have no idea how to go about doing that without messing up the entire recipe.

Does anyone with more experience have suggestions?

LevaiNation's picture

What the Forkish? Flat country Brown...

Hello breadies,

After many fantastic loafs, standing ovations, and jaw dropping results baking my way through FWSY, i had my first flat, sad, disappointing bread yesterday. I know, it was bound to happen, and in a way, i'm happy about the opportunity to challenge myself and harness this Pure Levain Country Brown recipe.

This is what I did (and in parenthesis, what Mr. Forkish suggests); maybe someone can spot the trouble area and help me decide where to start fixing the problem.

73f. room temp. 604g WF + 276g WW + 684g H2O @ 90f. Autolyse for 20 min. (Just like the book)

3:15 pm. Added 22g salt + 216g happy levain that passed the floating test. Final Mix, Dough temp 78f. (5pm in book)

3 folds first hour, 1 fold 11pm. Overnight room temp 70f.

7:30 am. Dough looked lovely and airy. It tripled in volume. Shaped into Bannetons. Super sticky, hard to shape......(8am in book. 1:15 over rise time)

11:15 am. Proof finger test looked good-I think-. It appeared to have risen nicely. Dough stuck to Bannetons (argh!!$%#@). Very Slack and soft dough. Went into hot DO's. 475 oven.

12m. Barely any oven spring. Pretty dense. Tastes lovely but crumb is quite moist and lacks air pockets.


All of this is written down in my bread journal. Looking forward to try the Country Brown again. Thanks in advance to anyone who took the time to read all the way to these lines...


Peace and dough, 



katyajini's picture

how and how much wheat germ to use? Soak?

I have never used wheat germ in cooking and baking.  I am just discovering it and love the flavor (of the toasted, that's the only version I have tried so far), and it is of high nutritive value I gather.

If I want to add it baking bread, how should I do this?

When measuring white flour take out 1 Tbs by weight of the flour and just add 1 Tbs of the wheat germ? Can you substitute more in bread baking or this amount is a good place to start?

In general, when a recipe calls for wheat germ can one use toasted or untoasted? Or is it untoasted unless specified?

And is it best to soak the wheat germ (add it to a soaker)? I have been having much success using a soaker both for flavor and the final texture of dough but don't know if this is important for wheat germ.

I would great welcome and appreciate your experiences using this ingredient.


Many thanks!