The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

Whole Wheat Crust Pizzas on Gas Grill Using Unglazed Quarry Tiles

It's summer time.  Finally.  The grill gets cleaned up, and ready to be used as many times as possible until the rain and cold comes again in October.  I have been itching to try making some thin crust pizzas on my gas grill but now utilizing some unglazed quarry tiles.  The tiles really helped up the quality of my breads so I figured they should help my pizzas on the grill.  My past attempts making pizzas on the grill were both frustrating and disappointing.  Burnt bottoms due to the direct flame, and overall just not what I was after. 

I have been craving a thin whole wheat crust..  Kept the hydration quite high, to achieve those bubbles in the crown.  Pretty happy, however, I have to find a better system of transferring the pizza from the peel to the tiles.  This awkward transfer resulted in some misshapen pizzas, but who's grading?  Oh yeah, you guys are.


Ahh, summer...

First one was a simple Bocconcini, Tomato and Basil.


Next was a Greek pizza with spinach, garlic, feta, greek oregano and tomato.

Crown crust bubbling.  Not as extreme as I was after, but still not bad for a first attempt.


golgi70's picture

Farmers Market Week 5: Cherry Almond Batard

 Went with something similar to a classic loaf you'll find in an artisan bakery.  This was an old recipe I had on the computer from a couple years ago that I increased the rye to 20% from 10%.  I may even go further or add some wheat to the party next time.  

So I knew I'd run into troubles somewhere along my way.  Had a lucky first few weeks.Today my loaves were a tad overproofed but more troublesome they were sticking to my unlined bowls.  Had they not been sticking the proof may have worked out better. Guess my fridge at home is moister than what I'm used too.  More Flour next time.  Live and learn.  All things considered though they collapsed a touch on my peel but bounced back well on the stones and I'm seeing signs of good steam happening.  Recipe includes a couple minor changes for improvement.  Mostly going straight to retarder after shaping and not letting them proof for a short bit at room temp.  I'd also consider adding some wheat next time to add a bit more flavor.  Not bad though.

Cherry Almond Batard.  2 - 725 g loaves

Mature Starter (100%)  116 g

H20                               478 g

Strong Flour                  371 g

Bread Flour (malted)     166 g

Rye (fresh milled)           156g

Sea Salt                           15 g

Instant Yeast                    2.5 g

Dry Tart Cherries             55 g

blanched slivered                                                                                                                                                                                             almonds, toasted              55 g

Zest and Juice of 1 orange


1)  toss cherries with orange juice and zest and let sit for a couple hours

2)  Autolyse: 1 hour

3)  Add starter and mix in slightly.  Add yeast and mix until homogenous.  Add salt til combined.  Turn to speed two and devlop to medium consistency.

4)  Add Cherries and Almonds and mix on speed 1 until well distributed 

5)  Bulk ferment 2 1/2 hours (3 stretch and folds at 20 minutes)

6)  Shape and either proof for 2- 2 1/2 hours and bake or retard immeditately overnight

7)  Bake with steam at 480 for 12 minutes.  Vented for 20-25 more.


As you can see the bread wasn't taking kindly to scoring which I did oh so lightly . I'm happy they turned out at all and were still tradable and tasty loaves.  Bounty this time is some Kale, Lettuce, fresh garlic, pickled beets, more ice plants, zukes, and a farmers very first of the year tiny cabbage.  What next?  


Happy Weekend and Baking all



Dwayne's picture

Marbled Rye Bread

Long time no post.


I wanted to try something different and a good friend said that she really like Marbled Rye (Hi, Grandma Phyllis) so that is the reason for this bake (like anyone here needs a reason to bake bread). So I pulled out Peter Reinhart's :The Bread Baker's Apprentice" (aka BBA).  This is the Marbled Rye Bread from there (page 183).  I followed the recipe pretty much exactly.  I scaled the recipe for a batch and a half, two loaves to give away and one to make sandwiches thru the week.


In this recipe you make tow doughs, which are identical except for the coloring that is added to one to make it darker.  I used Cocoa as the coloring agent.  One more change to the recipe, we were out of molasses so I used Karo corn syrup.


I was pretty pleased with the results.  However next time I will add a bit more water as the dough was very stiff.  Just like when I make a Cinnamon loaf I like to see lots of spirals (see

Roll dough of each color out into a long rectangle.

Straighten edges as needed.

Place one dough on top of the other.  Next time I will have one loaf with the darker dough on the bottom (outside).

Begin to roll up the dough, keep it tight and eliminate any air pockets.

All rolled up.  Check to see how it will fit into the baking pan.  If needed elongate the loaf to fit nicely.

Elongated and ready for the pan.

All ready for the final rise.

Fresh from the oven.

Buttered and ready to be sampled.


I will be making this again.


Happy Baking, Dwayne

Najwa's picture

Help in providing a baguette Recipe

Hi All,

I’m a new member, I’m African lives in Saudi Arabia thinking of starting a Deli in Saudi Arabia but bread here sucks. Please I need your help in providing a baguette Recipe which easy to bake in order to try it please note it is very hot & humid where I am & flour here is local with 7% protein in addition all what I can find here is active yeast only.

Thank you,


dabrownman's picture

Everyday Multigrain Sourdough with Scald

We’ve been working on an everyday white bread that has at least 25% whole grain flour.  This bread would need a soaker, scald or sprouted whole grain berries inside it to give the crumb some chew.  It would need some potato and oat in the mix since we love what they do for the rise. 


It would need to include some ground flax, sesame seeds and Toadies to give the crumb some healthy flecks of color and more flavor.  Including the Toadies we would want the bread to be over 40% whole grains


This bread is a variation of that theme using yogurt whey water for the majority of the dough liquid to give the already tangy SD even more pucker.  We went all out to get sour out of this bread by using a week old refrigerated 66% hydration, 50-50 mix, totaling 20 g, of our whole grain rye and whole wheat SD starters.


The levain was also retarded for 24 hours - 1 hour after the 3rd build feeding to enhance the sour of the levain.  All of the whole grain flours were in the levain to allow them the most time to be wet and get soft.


We simmered the scald for 20 minutes before allowing it to sit undisturbed on the counter for 6 hours.  The autolyse was 2 hours in length and included everything except the levain and the scald.   Once the autolyse met the levain it was at 77% hydration.  we did 10 minutes of slap and folds and 3 sets of S&F’s 20 minutes apart. 


We incorporated the large whole berry scald in the first set of S& F’s.  After completion of the last S&F, we allowed the dough to ferment on the counter in an oiled bowl for 30 minutes before going into the fridge for a 16 hour retard.


It more than doubled in the fridge.  After 15 minutes of warm up the next morning, we shaped the dough into a boule and put it into a lightly rice floured basket to final proof inside a used trash can liner.  After 1 ½ hours of final proof we fired up Big Old Betsy to 500 F.  This loaf was too big for the mini oven.


Once the oven hit 350 F we put (2) of Sylvia’s steaming pans and (1) 12” CI skillet full of lava rocks into the bottom of the oven to supply mega steam.   After Betsy said she was at temperature, we waited 15 more minutes to allow the top and bottom stone to get to temperature.


 We un-molded the bread from the basket onto a peel covered in parchment.  We slashed the boule T-Rex style with a pairing knife and slid it onto the bottom stone.  We turned the oven down to 450 F after 3 minutes and continued to steam for another 12 minutes.


At that point the steam came out and we turned the oven down to 425 F, convection.  After rotating the bread every 5 minutes 90 degrees on the stone to promote even browning, in 20 more minutes the bread was 203 F on the inside when we turned off the oven.  Baking time was 35 minutes total.  When the bread hit 205 F we cracked open the oven door and let the bread sit on the stone to crisp the crust for another 5 minutes.  The boule eventually hit  207 F after the 5 minute crisp and then we removed it to a cooling rack.


It browned up, sprang and bloomed nicely.  It s a quite handsome boule - if there is such a thing.  It sure smelled earthy and deliciously wheaty coming out of the oven and it had that tinge of semolina color on the crust.  No blisters but it wasn’t baked in the min oven either where blisters are common.


The crumb turned out as expected; open ,soft and moist with some gloss.  No one will ever ask "is this a sourdough bread?'  They will know it is a SD without question.  This is the kind of pucker we look for and hope it only gets better tomorrow.  Our most distinctly sour breads come from this metho of handling starter, levain and dough retarding  processes and using yogurt whey water for half the dough liquid.  This bread is the one you want for you everyday sourdough sandwich bread.  It is delicious, hearty, healthy and satisfying.

Breakfast  and lunch on bake day.  White DaPumpernickel for breakfast and this everyday bread for lunch.



WW and RyeSD

Build 1

Build 2

 Build 3



WW & Rye  SD Starter






















































WW and RyeSD Levain






























Levain % of Total












Dough Flour






Potato Flakes












Dough Flour


















Whey 200 water 120






Dough Hydration












Total Flour






Whey 200 and Water 210






T. Dough Hydration






% Whole Grain Flour












% Whole Grain w/ Toadies & Scald












Hydration w/ Adds






Total Weight












Add - Ins






Red Rye Malt






Ground Flax & Sesame Seeds












VW Gluten
























WW Berries






Rye Berries


















Spelt Berrries






Total Scald












Scald is the dry weight.






bruneski's picture

Uncommon types of flour

What should I do when I come across an interesting bread recipe that includes a type of flour not readily available to me, like spelt, kamut, durum, etc? What should I replace each of them with?

Are there any flour-replacement rules/guidelines for them, once we allow, of course, for some "acceptable" level of loss of texture quality, aroma, flavor, etc in its application?


lshak's picture

Problems when baking my bread

Does anyone know why my bread falls while baking?


twomamas's picture

Map and Share your Sourdough Starter

We think it is in the nature of sourdough to share. So we created a form and a map on our website,  so that people can map their sourdough starters and share them with anyone who lives near them and wants to start baking with sourdough.

Map your starter, spread the sour dough goodness!




JerryP's picture

Cresci recipe - oh dear!

Has anyone ever tried the Layered Serbian Focaccia recipe in the Cresci book: The Art of Leavened Dough?

It looks so straightforward, but I just cannot make it firm enough to stay together in the oven, let alone get it to look like the picture in the book.

Either I'm missing something (probably!) or there's an error in the ingredients list...

Any suggestions would be really appreciated, especially as I can't find any reference to such a cake anywhere else!

Many thanks,




chris319's picture

Sourdough Non-starter

Tempted by the Larraburu sourdough posts here, and having grown up on Larraburu bread in the SF bay area back in the good old days, I decided to try my hand at getting a starter going.

I read dozens of Internet posts and threads on the subject and got some KA AP flour. The first starter recipe from the web I tried was a total bum steer. It called for way too little water (yes, I used spring water) and made a thick paste like pizza dough which dried out in no time -- practically overnight. I tried again using more liquid to make it the consistency of pancake batter. After several days there started to be some activity. I then read Debra Wink's fine posts and learned that this activity was fool's gold. It smelled cheesy, like cottage cheese about to go bad. I concluded based on what I had read that my starter was growing leuconostocs instead of yummy candida humilis (sourdough yeast). Undaunted, I kept at it, trying myriad different liquids and waiting for days and days for something to happen. The temperature in my environment is in the 70s. Having read about the acidic environment needed, I tried pineapple juice, a dilution of water and white vinegar with a pH in the neighborhood of 3.5, I tried wine (slightly less acidic than pineapple juice depending on the type). After days and days, nothing -- no bubbles, no activity. The only distinctive odor I could make out was that of the liquid I used. I then decided to switch to KA WW flour using the same array of liquids. Nothing. They all just sat there as flat as a week-old glass of Coke. Using the WW flour, the residue that stuck to the side of the bowl grew plenty of mold, which unfortunately is not an ingredient in sourdough. I've been at this for several weeks now, after waiting about a week for each one to take off. I work for a living so I can't schedule my life around sourdough starter to feed it every few hours. I just wanted to see if I could get any kind of yeasty activity going.

I have read recipes for "can't fail" starter calling for honey and packaged yeast as well as buttermilk and yogurt, but this would be cheating. I should be able to get a starter going with just flour and water or some acidic liquid, right? I'm keeping in mind what resources the 19th-century Basque sourdough bakers up in the Pyrenees had available to them. They didn't have canned pineapple juice, that's for sure, and they didn't have packaged yeast. They likely had wine (which is why I tried it) and maybe they had vinegar, but they certainly didn't know about pH, didn't have microscopes or pH paper and didn't know about leuconostocs. After reading Debra's posts I thought I had the scientific advantage going for me, knowing about pH and the acidic environment favorable to yeast growth, but alas, no. I'm skeptical of mail-order starters not knowing what magical ingredients they could possibly have that my KA flour lacks. After all, the sourdough bakers of generations past didn't have an Internet with people selling mail-order envelopes of San Francisco sourdough starter on it.

I am now officially stumped. I'm almost out of ideas, short of going up to SF and waving my bowl of starter around in the air at 3rd avenue and Geary (the location of the erstwhile Larraburu bakery). I can only conclude that the air in my kitchen, my plastic bowls, my measuring spoon, my kitchen counter, the lighting, something or some combination of things is conspiring against me and lacks the magical powers needed to start a starter. Maybe it's the ionization. Something isn't properly ionized. I'll have to look for an ion meter to tell me. I suppose I could try beer, with a pH around 4. It has yeast in it but not candida humilis, right? Or maybe malt vinegar? It's acidic and I hear those sourdough critters like maltose.

Meanwhile, the 49er gold miners are beyond hungry. They are pounding their fists on the table and seem unwilling to wait another two weeks for my failed efforts at sourdough starter to turn around.