The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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kolobezka's picture

Drying oils for bread baking

I always use about 4% olive oil in my breads to slower down the stalinig process. When I tried using sunflower oil instead I had impression the the bread dries faster. Is it possible?
I remember that some oils are called "drying" oils. Does it have any significance in bread baking?
Also in cosmetics sunflower oil is said to dry out the skin.
However in some olders threads here in TFL and elswhere people say it doesn't matter which oil / fat you use (outside health reason but that's not the issue here)



Nicola's picture

Waah! My rye bread loaf splits in two horizontally when it bakes. So sad!

I'm posting another photo of the loaf; the one that shows the cut loaf was too big to upload, so I have to modify the photo size in my photo program before I can send that. However, all your comments have been helpful. I'll look again at the cut loaf, to see if the bottom is more compacted than the top. Re: putting the loaves in the oven diagonally, and well separated: that is what I did do, so it can't have been that I placed the pans too close together. Interesting comment about the "memory" of rye, though. This has occurred to me in the past but I kind of dismissed it as not being possible! Maybe next time I should just pour the whole batter into the pan at once, instead of spooning it in? Also, interesting that you don't recommend beating the dough to get some gluten going. Maybe next time I'll try just mixing and not beating, if beating won't help. Also interesting comment about maybe adding the whole wheat flour at an earlier stage. I have done that in the past though and I'm not sure that's the cause of the splitting. Anyway thanks for all your suggestions and comments. More are welcome, if you have any!

srulybpsyd's picture

Confusion About Yeast and Salt %

Hi All,

My wife and I did a large bake of Maggie Glezer's Slow Rise WW Challah about 2 weeks ago (documented here). We froze the challahs after cooling but only got around to eating them this past weekend. To say I was disappointed is an understatment. The challahs looked and smelled delicious but they were quite dense (more than 100% WW I've made in the past), a little dry, and had the wrong kind of sour note. I expected some "tang" due to the long rise times and firm preferment but my wife and I both agreed that this just didn't tatse right.

I went back to the recipe to see if I had messed up the procedure and noticed something interesting: In her recipe for two loaves of this challah she calls for Bread Flour in the preferment and WW flour in the final dough. In the expanded recipe for 5 lbs of flour she calls for WW flour in both the preferment and final dough. In addition, in the smaller recipe the % of yeast is about 0.1%, while the % yeast in the larger (all WW) recipe is 0.05%. In both recipes the % salt is about 2%.

Do these percentages seem reasonable? I understand that less yeast as well as a greater salt to yeast ratio will lead to a slower rise, but I'm confused about why the recipe with the WW preferment calls for less yeast than the BF preferment. If anything I would think it would be the opposite.



bakingbadly's picture

Opening a Sourdough Bakery in Cambodia

Hello guys, hello gals,

It's been a long while, hasn't it? Well, I can tell you now that I've been busy. Very busy. Soon I'll be opening my own sourdough (micro) bakery in Cambodia, a country situated in Southeast Asia.

Spectacular, isn't it? Or perhaps crazy considering that I've no prior working experience in a bakery.

Last Sunday I hosted a bread taste-testing event at my house. I invited a few of my friends and a handful of strangers, keen on getting feedback on my sourdough zopf, mixed nut sourdough, and cashew nut sourdough.

Funny thing, the sourdough zopf was slightly controversial. Zopf is a popular braided sweet bread in Switzerland and highly relished by the Swiss. Zopf is rarely baked in the form of sourdough... and my attempts seemed to have offended my Swiss friends. 

In total, we had 10 taste-testers excluding myself and my business partner. Prior to their arrival, I was anxious. Nearly trembling with fear, actually. Reason being, one participant was a Swiss native (the only person who's familiar with the Swiss zopf), two were retired chefs, and another was a former professional baker (he owned and managed 4 bakeries, and helped opened one of the largest sourdough bakeries in the Netherlands).

Man, oh man... The pressure! 

Here she is, our baby... Suzy. She's a single deck oven, convection, no steam injector, and heats up to 400C / 750F in approx. 30 minutes. She's a beauty, despite some of her faults when it comes to bread baking.

Moreover, Suzy arrived only a week ago. I also had never operated such an oven before her arrival. Think about it: can you imagine how stressed I was before the taste-testing?

Their critiques and feedback. 

The sourdough zopf was, in my eyes, a failure. Despite that the majority expressed a liking to it, our Swiss guest was disappointed. According to her, it wasn't "fluffy" enough and too bland.

Back to the drawing board.

The cashew nut and mixed nut sourdough, on the other hand, were a hit! Especially the mixed nut, which contained cashews, walnuts, and hazelnuts. With enthusiasm, the ex-pro baker informed me that the mixed nut sourdough had a "very good flavour". Immediately after, he pointed out visual defects on the bread which only a fanatic / professional could detect... Rather than feeling down or upset, I was ecstatic to finally meet somebody who knew a thing or two about bread. In this case, lots of things!

Deviating from the above topic, I'll tell you a bit about my bakery and how I'm evolving as a baker.

The name of my bakery is Bäckerei, German for "bakery". Ironically, we're not a German bakery. We offer "fusion" breads, with major influences from central Europe, combined with ingredients grown in or native to Southeast Asia. As some of you know, I like to experiment and produce non-conventional breads. But something happened... In the past few months I began to appreciate the complexity of "simplicity". Flour, water, salt. Limiting yourself to those ingredients is, in my opinion, challenging... and utterly delicious and rewarding if used correctly. 

As I continue to bake more often for others, I noticed a certain neglect. Gradually, I ignored my preferences and listened to what my friends and the community wanted. They wanted nuts in their bread, so I gave it to them. They wanted a less tangy sourdough---absolutely no problem. Now they're demanding whole rye or wheat breads... Unfortunately, as much as I want to, this I cannot provide. It's practically non-existent in Cambodia, but you can bet your baker's butt that I'll do my best to get it into town.

What does it mean to be a baker? What responsibilities must I fulfill with such a profession? These are questions that I'm beginning to ask myself more and more often... And the more I understand, the more fulfillment I feel. I can tell you now with open honesty, at the taste-testing event, when I saw my friends and guests enjoying my breads, I nearly broke into tears. That's what I worked so hard for. For the dedicated baker, I think, bread is an expression of love, and to have others reciprocate with a full belly and smile is all we ever want.

Thank you for the read, TFLoafers. Until next time... 

Wish you all the best and jolly bakings,


P.S. I'll be very busy during the upcoming few months. If you'd like to keep updated with my doings, please feel free to visit my bakery's Facebook page and "like" it. There, you will see my progress, including hardships and hopefully many successes.

little lemon loaf's picture
little lemon loaf

Honey Oat Pullman Loaf or My First Try at Pullmans

I found out this week, that I already own a Pullman tin.  I was using it to store bookmaking supplies, thought it was an old icebox.

It is aluminum, 4x4x11, and my new/old pride and joy.

This loaf includes:

200g Whole Wheat Flour

185g Bread Flour

185g AP Flour

50g Oat Flour

10g Wheat Germ

20g Whole Oats

520g Water

10g Instant Yeast

65g Honey

Autolysed 1 hour.

45g Olive Oil

17g Sea Salt

Fermented 45 minutes, Shaped into the pan, Proofed at room temp, and then baked at 350 for 30 minutes. Then baked without the lid til it reaches desired crust color.

This makes two loaves. I just let the other loaf proof in the fridge while the first proofed and baked.

It used to be much longer, but we ate half of it.

chip c's picture
chip c

pizza dough flours

what does semolina flour do for pizza dough? 

braber's picture

Doubling No-Knead Sourdough Bread Recipe - Yay or Nay?

I use the no-knead recipe from: Newe Start Farm: for sourdough bread.  It makes a one-pound loaf. If I double the recipe, should I it as one large loaf without extending the baking time?  I usually bake the one-pound loaf at 425 degrees for 30 minutes with the lid on (after pre-heating the pot) and then another 15-20 minutes at 475 without the lid.  

sonika's picture

Freshly grind spelt bread not rising properly

I have tried it three times so far and in all cases the dough doesn't rise well.
Most of the flour I used was from freshly milled spelt, mixed with small quantities of flour from other various seeds. The bread comes out like a brick no-matter how I alter the recipe.  This last time, the dough had a bit of a better rise, maybe because I mixed it with about 1.3 cups of store-bought all-purpose flour. The results still were not satisfactory. 
I have been baking bread at home for a while now and I doubt I might have a problem with dough consistency or moisture. 
I have used freshly ground spelt flour before as an addition, and I have noticed that it impacts the rise of the dough. Does this mean that there is no way to have a nicely risen loaf of bread made from 90-100% fresh milled spelt, or is there something that can be done about it?

dabrownman's picture

Time to start thinking about St Paddy's Day Bake Challenge

Here is an Irish soccor ball from a couple of years ago  Can't wait ti see this year's creations

Here are last year's Irish Lemon Curd Fairy Cakes

So what are you baking for SPD this year?

kjohnson's picture

The best toaster for Artisan Bread shapes

I no longer have a toaster oven and don't need one, but I would like to find a bread toaster that can hold the longer and oddly shaped slices of artisan bread. I will only be using it for this purpose. Does anyone have one to recommend?