The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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NoobGrinder's picture

An Oldie Revised?

I'm looking for people's experiences on making the mundane, yet awesome, chocolate chip cookie. Namely, I'm looking to make them from one (or more) of the three types of wheat I have here. Hard white winter, soft white, and hard red spring wheats. What would you recommned? And do you have a favourite "whole wheat" chocolate chip cookie recipe?


Thanks in advance! :D

Floydm's picture

Milk Bread with Raisins

I make another batch of the Hokkaido Milk Bread with Tangzhong this weekend, this time adding 2 cups of soaked sultana raisins.  

That was two cups of raisins before soaking. After soaking it was more like 3 or 3 1/2 cups, which was a lot of raisins. I was afraid it was going to be too much and really weigh the loaves down, but they still rose quite nicely.

As you can see, I split the dough into smaller pieces this time and divided it among three pans.

It wasn't as fluffy and cloud-like as the first batch, which isn't surprising given the additional weight I added, but it was still an extremely soft, pillowy dough.  We've all be munching it straight and it made wonderful toast when sliced this morning.

metropical's picture

malt extract vs spray malt powder

has anyone compared results using either as the sugar?

I have been using Muntons malt extract as my sugar for years, but it is a bit of a pain as I fridge it and have to warm it to get it to"spoon".

Spray malt powder would be easier, but if I'm gonna lose any flavor or texture characteristics, then I'm not so much interested.

Any experiences to share?


MaximusTG's picture

50/50 whole wheat/flour bread

For this bread I took 300 grams of whole wheat flour and mixed it with 300 grams of water and 1/8 tsp of instant yeast. 

That was at midnight. Next morning I added 280 grams of flour, 1 tsp salt, some pumpkinseeds and some flax seeds. Also enough water to make the hydration 75%. Gave it a stir and then kneaded with mixer. Let rise for 1,5 hours. Then shaped into boule. Proofed for 2 hours in banneton. Baked for 50 minutes at 190 celsius with steam.





loafgeek's picture

Healthy Bean Chips--Over 30% Fiber!

I don't know if it is appropriate to making a posting about bean chips here or not but I figure it's worth a shot and definitely worth sharing.

I am diabetic and when I eat grain snacks I like them to be as healthy as possible.  You can't get more fiber than you can with beans.

I was at Whole Foods Market today and about to buy another package of "Beanitos" brand chips at $3.49 for 6 ounces. (I always liked Beanitos because they were over 30% fiber--compared to around 5% fiber of a typical chip.)  I thought it was ridiculous how much they were charging--over 50 cents an ounce--for chips made with bean flour, since one can buy beans so cheaply. Looking on the back at the ingredients it seemed pretty simple:  beans, rice flour, salt, water, flavoring, guar bean gum & oil.  I figured I could make that!

So instead of buying that small bag of chips for $3.49 I decided to make my own today when I got home.  And that is exactly what I did.  I had never done this before, and never seen a recipe for it, but I figured I'd give it a shot.  I'm glad I did because they turned out as good or better than the storebought bean chips.

Here is what I did.  I took 100 grams of miscellaneous dried beans and threw them in my spice/coffee grinder.  I ground them up until they were the consistency of masa flour.  I put the bean flour in a bowl with 12 grams of rice flour.  I threw in some salt & for personal flavoring: chipotle powder & cayenne--you could use any spices you like.  Then I worked in about a teaspoon or so of olive oil.  After that I added just a little water to bring the stuff together into a very firm paste (that I could easily roll out)--50% hydration. (I left out the guar bean gum, since I didn't have any on hand and ultimately it proved uneccessary.) I rolled it out thin, dusting it with 100% freshly ground organic whole wheat flour (that I keep on hand).

I cut these up into chip size pieces and threw them in a pot of 375F degree oil.  They cooked up in like 30 seconds.  Took them out and put them on a cooling rack.  Sprinkled a little salt on them.

They're yummy and I'll never buy storebought bean chips again:

dabrownman's picture

Italian Tang Zhong, Fig, Hazelnut & Ricotta Cheese Sourdough Chacons

After our recent experiments with 100% whole grain bread, and DaPumperizing some of them, we found out that our limited supply of what we call white breads was exhausted.  These ‘white breads’ still have 20%-30% whole grains in them so they have some decent flavor and healthfulness.


We thought we would go Italian for this bake because of the sneaky ricotta, goat cheese and citrus cheese cake my apprentice baked while no one was looking.   It had also been awhile since we had done a chacon shape too.  We could have done an Italian shape like an Altamura but these shapes usually need some durum flour in hem and we are saving the last of Desert Durum for something else.


Instead of out usual pesto, parmesan and sun dried tomato Italian bread that we like so much we decided to go in a different Italian direction by using figs, hazelnuts and ricotta cheese to go along with the 22% whole grain Rye, spelt and WW that was mainly used in the levains.


Yes, we had 2 levains for this bake but they were both of the SD variety instead of YW we usually use for 1 of them.  We used out Rye Sour and our Not Mini’s Ancient WW starters for this bake.  We love what both of them do for bread so why not combine them and see what happens.


So not to have enough to do for this bake we also decided to use whey water for some of the liquid and do a Tang Zhong with 25 g of the dough flour with an additional 125 g of water not included in the liquid amounts in the formula.


We thought about throw in some of our aromatic seed mix but the apprentice nixed that at the last minute wanting to know what was German about this bake anyway?  For being mainly nutzoid when it comes to breaking the bread mold, she can be traditional when you least expect it – usually right before doing a nose rip on you – which is also not expected.


These levains built themselves up to doubling in 4 hours so only one build was needed to get them full strength.  We did not retard the levains when built as is our usual practice of late but we did do a 4 hour autolyse of the dough flours with the malts, VWG and Toadies.  We kept the nuts, figs, cheese and salt out.  Usually we put the salt in the autolyse so we don’t forget it but thought we try to have Lucy remember to put it in later.

After the 2 levains, the Tang Zhong, ricotta cheese and autolyse came together, we mixed it withy a spoon for 1 minute and then did 4 minutes of slap and folds before adding the salt.  This dough feels much wetter that the just short of the 69% total hydration with the add ins.  This is due to the Thang Zhong and the cheese. 

After the salt went in, we did another 8 minutes of slap and folds before the dough finally came together fore a 20 minute rest.  We then did (3) sets of S&F’s on 15 minute intervals and incorporated the nuts and re-hydrated figs in the 2nd one and by the 3rd one they were well distributed.   The wet figs also added some more unaccounted liquid to the mix. 


After a hours worth of ferment on the counter the dough was bulk retarded for 12 hours, ala Ian’s typical retard mastering.  In the cold it had risen to the rime of the bowl and after 1 ¾ hours on the counter the next morning it has risen above the rim of the bowl .

We then divided it and shaped the knotted rolls; one each for the bottom of each basket, and shaped the twisted rope in addition of the oval basket so these Chacons wouldn’t end up looking too similar after baking.   So no braids, balls or other intricate shapes and designs in the bottom of the basket were used in keeping with this simple Italian bake.

After 2 hours of final proof on the counter in a plastic bag, they were ready for Big old Betsy that had bee preheated to 500 F with one of David Snyder’s lava rocks in a large cast Iron skillet along with a large size one of Sylvia’s steaming pans with 2 rolled up towels in it.  Both were put into the oven half full of water when the 40 minute preheat started and they supplied their usual mega steam.  We also used top and bottom stones as we always do since they never come out of the oven.

My apprentice thought that the loaves were over proofed again when the came out of the bag since the dough jiggled like jello or a croissant and the dough had risen above the rim of the baskets.   But, since Chacons do not need to be slashed, they went straight into the oven on the bottom stone after un-molding onto parchment paper and peel.  They still managed to spring nicely anyway and my apprentice’s over proofing fear was as unfounded as her legal immigration status.

After 2 minutes the temperature was turned down to 460 F and then after a total of 12 minutes the steaming apparatus came out of the oven and the temperature was turned down to 425 F , convection this time.  The loaves were rotated on the stone every 5 minutes for 15 minutes when they tested 205 F and were removed from the oven to a cooling rack.

The loaves cracked well on top as they should and they ended up being nicely browned,  crisp but un-blistered despite the long retard and mega steam.  They are awfully nice looking loaves none the less and we can’t wait to cut into one to see what the crumb looks like.

The crumb turned out fairly open, glossy and super soft.  The Tang Zhong really came through as it always does.   I like to use it on whole grain, multi-grain breads since we discovered that it does the same thing for these breads as it does for white breads.  Now we know it isn't just the YW that makes the crumb soft.  We like this bread very much and it is worth the extra effort required to pull it off. 


WW and Rye Sour Levain

Build 1



WW SD Starter




Rye Sour Starter








Whole Wheat




Dark Rye
















Levain Totals




















Levain % of Total








Dough Flour




Whole spelt




Dark Rye








Dough Flour












Whey 200 Water100




Dough Hydration








Total Flour




Soaker Water 300 & Water




T. Dough Hydration




Whole Grain %








Hydration w/ Adds




Total Weight








Add - Ins




White Rye Malt




Red Rye Malt








VW Gluten




Ricotta Cheese




Adriatic & Mission Figs
















Weight of figs is pre re-hydrated weight




PDLarry's picture

What scared you the most about making bread?

What aspect(s) about bread making scared you the most, and how did you overcome that?

ohhcrumbs's picture

P Reinhart's Pain å l'Ancienne > hand mixing

It's my first time with this recipe. I don't have any electric tools so have to do the mixing by hand. I would love some guidance with a couple of issues...

I'm concerned about what will happen to the dough temperature during 10 mins(?) of kneading/mixing with my (warm) hands. Will this be an issue? If so, could I use Dan Lepard's technique of turning the dough 10 times then resting for 10 mins (x3) -- resting it in the fridge??

Earlier in the book Peter states that it isn't really possible to over mix a dough by hand. But I'm wondering how to know when this dough is sufficiently mixed. His recipe refers to it releasing from the sides of the bowl of an electric mixer... but there is no reference for what to look for if mixing by hand.


nicodvb's picture

Hard red spring flour, retardation and softness


I'd like to ask you how you treat your doughs made with hard red spring flour to get a very soft crumb. Every time I use it I have to retard the dough for a lot of time if I want to avoid that tough rubbery mouthfeel that I can't stand.

Let me make few examples: croissant retarded for  2 days in the fridge still had a very perceivable gumminess that only after 4 days was completely lost. The dough was decently rich, with lot of sugar, some egg yolk and 10% butter. Predictably even  plain bread doughs after 1 day in the fridge come out rubbery. Same for brioche.

The only way I found to get a soft crumb without retardation was using a preferment made with a 200% hydratation rye sourdough, but rye doesn't fit in every recipe:-)

I tried to mix HRS flour with soft wheat flour, but the volume of breads decreased a lot without really softening the crumb.

I don't want to give up to the advantages that HRS flour brings and I don't want to give up to crumb softness. I don't even want to prepare doughs 4 days in advance to eat some bread, brioche or croissant.

Water roux works only to a certain extent, it doesn't mask completely the hardness of the crumb.

Is there a solution?  Do you have a working method?


NoobGrinder's picture

New to grinding, ratios wanted...

Here goes.

I'm completely new to milling. To this end, I've bought a brand new KitchenAid Grain Mill attachment for my beast of a mixer. I've also been given 70+lbs of red hard spring wheat, 40lbs of soft white winter wheat, and a few lbs of hard white wheat to work with. Happening upon this forum, I am now feeling quite like drowning in an ocean of information, when all I'm really looking for is something basic to start with. If I were to cruise this forum all night, I think I would probably just give up and go back to store bought flour and bread. Which would completely destroy what I'm trying to do here, which is show my daughter that self-reliance and the ability to do the basics like making bread, can be rewarding, not to mention MUCH healthier than the nutrition-less store bought breads...


So, what I'm looking for is this... What ratios would I use of these grains, to accomplish "all purpose" style flour? And how would I treat it differently in baking your "standard" bread? Would I treat it differently? What are your preferred mixes of wheats for breads? I know I will try my own, but I'd like to try someone else's tried and true methods before going full-bore into my own creative mind. I'm reading all these things like soaking and leaving flour in water overnight to bump it's humidity up, and how horrible some people think a mixer with a dough hook is... 

Guide me, oh knowledgable ones! :D