The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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ndechenne's picture

Retarding in the fridge

Ok, a question.


I've tried but hesitated refrigerator retarding, as I hear that it may be too cold? I keep a cold fridge (boy likes his milk nearly freezing). That said, it would be my belief that you could still "fridge retard" but that it may take a long time to develop the flavors (like a couple/few days, up to a week even?)

Second question (ok, I lied). Second, what's this business about going from fridge to oven directly? I tried it ... spring was ok but nothing too dramatic. What's the philosophy in fp in the fridge? Again... too cold to rise much? 

End of the day I seem to be looking for rise in a cold retard, yet maybe what I should be thinking about is flavor and let the fp do the rising for me? Problem I'm having though is that I'm overproofing as (in my mind) the loaves should be bigger than perhaps they want to be when coming out of the cold.

Can't get out of my own way on this one... thoughts?

bakerintraing's picture

Lavender rosemary bread adapted

Hi all,

Just to introduce myself. I have been baking breads on and of for a couple of years, but mainly followed recipes that I found here and there. Occasionally I improvised a bit.

Recently I decided I wanted to know more about this art and ran into this site; I found this lavender rosemary bread from jamesjr54 that really got me interested. I decided to adapt it since I am not (yet) into starters. Made this bread with yeast only (used 4g). While mixing all the ingredients, I found the dough was too wet, so while mixing I had to adjust. Too bad since now I don't have the exact measurements. Did one more S&F. Baked it on 250C, which I think was a bit too high. Next time I will try 249C. The crumb could improve a bit.

Anyway, the bread came out nice; full of flavor and complex.

Looks pretty good for a first attempt I think...


Gramma Berries's picture
Gramma Berries

New to this sourdough with no yeast - starter problems..

I have 2 starters started. One is 3.5 days old with small bubbles that I have been feeding with little result i.e. small bubbles. I have removed part of it and re fed it recently.  The second is on day 2 with nice bubbles that I fed about 2 hours ago.  What do I do with # 1 at this point and can I start to make a loaf of sourdough bread with # 2 at this point?  I really appreciate your reply as I am feeling overwhelmed. 

thihal123's picture

Difficulty kneading rye bread

I've been having the most difficult time kneading rye bread, even though the rye bread formula I'm using only is 39.5% rye. The dough is very soft (lacking structure). It did help when I did a combination of hand kneading and machine mixing. I didn't machine mix the entire way through knowing how easy it is for the Kitchen Aid mixer to overknead the rye and make it become a gloopy, slippery mess. However, even after this, it was very difficult to shape the bread. I try to shape it and when I lift the loaf into the pan, it just kinda sags and gives.

I'm pretty good, I think, at making whole grain wheat breads. To me, my whole wheat loaves basically have good taste, good shape, nice form, good structure. I'd even say it's comparable to some baked breads that you buy commercially. But, rye flour is a whole other animal and I could certainly use some tips in how to better work with rye flour!

Here's the Peter Reinhardt formula I used, with some caveats that I list:

• Whole wheat flour - 60.5%

• Whole rye flour (I used Hodgson's stoneground whole rye) - 39.5%

• Salt - 1.7%

• Instant yeast - 1.5% (this is in addition to using sour dough starter which is used earlier in the making of the bread but isn't listed separately in Reinhardt's formula)

• Vital wheat gluten - 1.3% (I added a LOT more vital wheat gluten than this in attempts to give the bread more structure, make it less saggy, and form more gluten)

• Milk/Yoghurt - 31.5%

• Water - 28%

• Molasses - 5%

• Honey - 2.5%

• Oil - 5%


Reinhardt's formula is basically to first make a Soaker (combination of whole wheat flour, salt, yoghurt, vital wheat gluten) and let that ferment at least for 24 hours.

Paralleling this is to make a Starter (combination of whole wheat mother starter, whole rye flour, and filtered water) which you let double in size (takes anywhere from 8 to 12+ hours) and then you are ready to make the bread.

For the Final Dough, you combine soaker and starter plus additional whole wheat flour, salt, instant yeast, molasses, honey, and oil.

My troubles come in making the final dough when I'm hand kneading. I add a LOT more additional whole wheat flour and vital gluten in hopes to create structure for this loaf. I find it easier to do a combo hand and machine mix. It's almost impossible for me to hand mix alone, although this indicates to me that my hand technique isn't good enough so I'd like to learn some tips on how to handle rye dough.

Thanks for your help!


LLVV's picture

Question regarding dutch oven baking

Hi!  I'm new here but not new to bread baking.  I've been baking on and off for many years.  I recently discovered the world of no knead bread and have enjoyed the rustic loafs that this method produces.

My question is...can a regular bread dough recipe (meaning not a no knead bread) be baked in a dutch oven with good results?  I have been searching online for days and can't seem to find the answer so maybe someone here can help me with this.

Thank you!  I'm looking forward to reading through the forums on here.

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

My "Quick" breads

Quite often - especially during holiday times - spending time with my family can interfere with the optimal sourdough build schedules.

If we then run out of bread I usually make some improvisations based on Dan DiMuzio's Pain De Campagne (90% bread flour, 10% medium rye, 68% water, 2% salt, 0.3% instant yeast, from memory).

These breads are quick because they are same-day breads; but they still take about 5 hours from start to finish.

Two of these variations have been especially popular with my family:

The one pictured in the title photo is made using bread flour, medium rye and wholegrain wheat flours, plus toasted sesame oil.

This results in a very rich flavour and a moist crumb with a very light feel.

 The other bread uses a brown rice flour scald and high extraction wheat.

Both formulas use a bit more yeast than in the original formula, bulk proof for about 2 hours.

Here the formulas:

1. Sesame Mixed Flour Campagne (Ugh...)

 WeightBakers %
Bread Flour35070
Light Rye Flour5010
Wholegrain Wheat Flour10020
Instant Yeast30.6
Toasted Sesame Oil408


2. Rice Campagne

 Weight (g)Percent
Rice Scald  
Brown Rice Flour10020
Boiling Water30060
Final Dough  
High Extraction Wheat40080
Instant Yeast30.6
Rice Scald40080

Here a crumb shot of the Sesame Campagne


And here a picture of the Rice Campagne





SylviaH's picture

Broken Hearted Sourdough Crepes

These are great crepes to make using up your sourdough discards.

Crepes make wonderful little packages.  Fill them with fruits, cream, cheeses.  Savory crepes are wonderful too!  Let your imagination run wild.

Mike loved the I served him after dinner.  He plans on putting one together for himself tonight.  Yes, even he can do it.

Make a plate piled high with crepes.  Just refrigerate them and, they should keep for a couple of days.  Separate them carefully and fill with your heart's delight.  You can even freeze them.  Though I haven't tried that, yet.


Sourdough Crepes   -     I used a Caputo 00 Flour Sourdough starter  

You will use about 1 cup of sourdough starter and it will be deluted with milk to a very thin batter consistancy.

1 Egg and 1 Egg Yolk   Beaten

2 TBsp. Melted Unsalted Butter

1/4 tsp. Sea Salt

1/4 to 1/2 Cup Non-Fat Milk  -  I used 2% -

Mix well adding more milk if needed to get a very thin batter.

Refrigerate the batter for about an hour before using.


Put a small dab of butter into a heated non-stick pan.  When it bubbles and melts, pour in about 1/3 cup batter per crepe.

Tilt pan and spread the batter around to make a thin crepe.  Cook about one minute until the edges come away and you can lift the crepe with a  medal cake frosting spatula.  

Flip and cook about another 2 minutes.  Keep them light and not browned.

Lay them on a plate while you bake up a batch.







Our 'Sweet Katie Girl' passed over the Rainbow Bridge.   







108 breads's picture
108 breads

Easy spelt with yogurt

We're at Bread #30 of 108. Woo hoo! Very easy spelt that tasted good. I like the 100 percent spelt a little better, but the family was very happy with this. And I have to say, the spelt doughs make for pretty bread.

Probably going to take some time off now from my 108 breads project with Jewish holidays coming and lots of challah baking to do. Must buy the raisins and cinnamon for the sweet, round holiday challahs.

dabrownman's picture

100 % Whole Multi Grain, Yeast Water & Sourdough Bagels

These aren’t your normal whole grain bagels - not that whole grain ones are at all normal much less made with SD and YW.  What we did was take the 25% of the sifted out portion of home milled grains and used that to feed the SD starter where the liquid for it was yeast water.


We love using the sifted out bran and endosperm portion to feed the levain.  This gets all the hard bits in the wet for the longest period of time to soften them especially if you retard the levain after the 2nd and 3rd feeding for 24 hours each time like we did.


When mixed back into white dough flour at a 25% portion this turns the dough into a 100% whole grain one and makes the bagels very tasty indeed.   In this case the whole grains were rye, wheat, farro, kamut and spelt.   So we got a nice mix grains which also makes for great flavor.


The YW has a tendency to mute the sour flavor somewhat, so the retarding of the levain twice and the dough for 20 hours was an attempt to get the sour back.   It was somewhat successful but the YW also makes the crumb moist and soft too.


The initial hydration was 58% but we kept adding more water to the mix just to get it to the point where we could knead it for 20 minutes .  If we were making bread with this flour mix, we would be at 85% -90% hydration using fresh milled flour.  So the 63% hydration of this dough is misleading.  In reality it was the hardest bagel dough to knead of all time and we have baked plenty of bagels over the years to know.  It felt like 50% hydration


We shaped the bagels two ways; the over the knuckle and roll to seal and the poke a hole in the center of the ball and enlarge methods.  We also boiled the 3 batches of 3 bagels each for different times, 30 seconds, 60 seconds and 90 seconds to see if there was a difference.  The (9) bagels weighed in at 108 each and we made a dough ball for the float test with the left over.


We also had several toppings, white sesame, black sesame, W&B sesame, white poppy, black poppy, white and black poppy and then made 3 all in that included the sesame and poppy varieties as well as oregano, basil, caraway and kosher salt.


Normally the mini oven would put some nice large blisters in the bagels using (2) of Sylvia’s steaming cups but this time they were very small ones instead - probably due to the 100% whole grains and lower relative hydration than our usual 58% hydration of the 30% whole grain bagels.  Einstein was right - its all relative and probably why he is famous for cake like non NY Style bagels today.


The dough ball floated to the top of water glass in a split second so the cold proof worked well indeed.  The boiling liquid was a dark tea color of barley malt syrup and a teaspoon of baking soda.  The bagels were briefly put flat side down on the towel to remove excess liquid from that side before being overturned into the seeds. They were then placed flat side down onto parchment that lined the vented top cover of the mini’s broiler pan.


The steaming cups were added and the assembly was placed into the mini at 500 F with a ¼ C splash of water into the bottom of the oven as the door was closed.  After 2 minutes, the temperature was turned down to 475 F for an additional 6 minutes of steam.  After 8 minutes of steam the cups were removed and the temperature turned down to 425 F, convection this time. After 8 more minutes, 16 total, that bagels were done and they were removed to the cooling rack.


Tzitzel grilled cheese sandwich with all the normal fixings on bagel shaping day.

These bagels browned up nicely and no difference could be detected between those that took a longer bath than others.  Small holes but they were very crispy with glass like crust  - just what we want.  The crumb was more open than we expected and it was also very soft, moist and chewy too – another plus.


How did those truffles get in there?

These are such awful nice bagels you forget they are 100% whole grain and healthy too.   They are our new favorite bagel and by far and away everything we are looking for in that elusive NY bagel.


We had them toasted with a schmear of CC and the dough ball was buttered and red raspberry jammed – delicious.  Can’t wait for Saturday’s smoked salmon dressing the top of these fine bagels – a topping we got for last Saturday and our 26th anniversary – but forgot it when I realized there wasn’t a decent bagel in the house.

Who took a bite out of that smoked salmon and cream cheese bagel?  Thank goodness the bacon, brie, butter, minneola marmalade and egg half is still untouched!  Had to wait for Saturday brunch to taste these bagels properly:-)



Build 1

Build 2

 Build 3



Multi-grain SD Starter












 25% Sifted Rye Spelt & Wheat Bran


















Rye & WW Levain






























Levain % of Total












Dough Flour












Dough Flour
























Dough Hydration












Total Flour












T. Dough Hydration






% Whole Grain Flour












Hydration w/ Adds






Total Weight












Add - Ins






VW Gluten






Red Malt






White Malt






Barley Malt Syrup                            25  







saradippity's picture

Extra ingredients in starters

I've been thinking a lot about certain starters (like a supposedly Amish recipe that I have that includes dairy, sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, and eggs) that have extra ingredients in them. Certain spices might permeate the liquid more, like how the flavor of soup might be enhanced from slow cooking, but my understanding is that they might also interfere with the process, as certain spices or flavorings may have antibacterial properties. I know I heard that many people have successfully put eggs and dairy in their starters, and if my friendship bread recipe is valid than obviously it has withstood the test of time and therefore it works. But is it a waste to add these extras or does it change the process in a beneficial way? 

Like, if we add dairy, does that mean that we have a sourdough culture overlapping a yogurt culture, therefore enhancing the process? If we add sugar to the starter, does that mean the sugar would be consumed and the flour would not be as consumed, altering the flavor in a beneficial way, or does it mean we've just had our yeast eat the sugar and it's gone and wasted? If we use a regular starter and add these extra ingredients to the final dough instead, how is the flavor profile and yeast activity changed? Is there any benefit to having eggs in the starter rather than the final dough, does the cinnamon slow down the yeast's consumption of the final product and therefore it doesn't get the "sour" flavor profile, ending in a sweeter bread, or does the cinnamon in the starter mean your starter has a greater likelihood of failure and less rise?

I know that's a lot of questions, and I haven't gone over all of the ingredients, but... in general, what is your thoughts or experiences with any ingredients other than flour and water in a starter? Have you noticed anything that indicates something should or should not be included in the starter versus the final dough?