The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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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?


hamletcat's picture

How long does it take for complete fermentation?

How long does it take for the yeast to break down all the starch in the flour?  I am just curious because I am trying to let my bread ferment as long as possible before the gluten starts breaking down.  I want to reduce the carbohydrate impact as much as possible.  

LevaiNation's picture

Levain on a jet plane

Has anyone traveled with their starters? I'm flying (15 hours) to central america next week to visit my mother. Really want to bring her some levain magic and bake her some goods!

Any suggestions?



MBaadsgaard's picture

Proofing a must?

Hey, yes, another question by me, you'll be seeing plenty. Sorry, but that is what you get from being so friendly and helpful...


I was wondering about proofing. To me it seems the idea comes from professional baking, where you had to make a bunch of dough, bulk ferment it, then shape it, and then wait for more fermentation for it to be ready for baking.

Yet, I really don't come across recipes where the proofing is excluded from. Is it a must to proof? What are the benefits? Does it relax the proteins and allow for better rise or something?

The reason why I am asking is because I want to mix a dough in the evening, let it rise during the night, get up 1 hour before I have to leave the house, preheat oven, bake, let cool for lunch.

And just want to know if I am losing some quality of the loaf by not punching it down and letting it rise again.


MANNA's picture

This mornings bake

I have changed the feeding of my levain. I now feed it 1: .5: .5 every 24 hours. It has been a week now. The bake this morning produced a house full of nice sour smells. I tasted this loaf and still no tangy bread. This bulk fermented at room temp then went into the fridge overnight for final proofing. Im happy with the results. A nice crunchy crust and soft crumb. I would like to have a more sour flavor to it. Im thinking of increasing the levain in the dough. My levain sits at room temp and this time of the year is around 65 degrees. I think warming it up by 10 degrees would help with the sourness of everything. Below are the bakers percent of what I did. The loaf pictured is 600g and baked at 425 F for 45 min in a cast iron double cooker. The first 15 min covered.

Flour, 12% protein: 100%

water : 63%

salt, kosher: 2%

prefermented flour: 33%

levain is 100% hydration

RavenDrake's picture

Hi! Greeting


I'm Glen

I'm new both in baking and joining a forum. I guess this is the first step in forum?

I put interest in a few thing like music, drawing, and cooking, eventhough I've mastered neither of them (I'm interested in all of them I can't focus on just one thing). Lately, I want to make another burger, but ran out of burger bun and had out of luck finding one on local store. Then it came across my mind, "why don't I make my own burger bun?". A few minutes later, I remember eating bagel burger once, and wish to make bagel burger instead of burger bun, as bagel is quite rare in my country. And so, I started trying to learn how to make bagel, googling and watching several youtube videos. As I fail making a good bagel, I googled more and came across this site, and think this would be the best place to learn about baking.

That's how I started to join The Fresh Loaf :D So, Hi everyone!

Anyway, I want to start asking question about baking. Which forum should I post my question? I don't want to post on the wrong room :D


Have a nice day!

Xenophon's picture

Sourdough lean Belgian waffles

Before I start out:  Credit has to given where it's due and the following post by David inspired me to give this a try.  His description works perfectly and is all you need, really, I'm just going to write out my version of it.

In Belgium we have a certain reputation where waffles are concerned:  from the crisp on the outside yet light as a feather and moist on the inside Brussels waffle over soft breakfast waffles to the filling and sweet variety baked in Liège which will make your waistline expand quicker than the US Federal government debt.  Batters prepared with yeast, baking powder, using fizzy water to lighten things up ands served in a million ways.  You name it, they bake it.

Yet, I rarely bake them.  Mainly because most of the traditional recipes are heavy on butter and eggs and well, if I can choose between a light pancake batter and a heavy waffle, usually we'll have pancakes for breakfast.  If you want to find out exactly how heavy they can be:  one of Escoffier's recipes for waffle batter calls for 1 pound of flour, 9 eggs, 4 oz sugar, half a pint of cream and some butter for good measure.

The link I posted above inspired me:  how about using what is basically a matured 100% sourdough preferment as a base, adding some egg, flavouring and a little bit of butter?  The idea of using sourdough in stead of traditional yeast was already appealing so here's what I set out yesterday morning:


- 200 gr. white all purpose flour

- 30 gr. 100% hydrated sourdough rye starter

- 200 gr. water at room temperature

Method:  Simplicity itself, mix it all up in a lidded bowl and leave standing until the preferment is fully matured.  My kitchen was cool at 18 centigrade and I didn't add a lot of starter (didn't fancy rye waffles and wanted to keep the acidity in check) so the process took 14 hours.

This morning I took the above and added:

- Skimmed milk: 100 gr.

- Vanilla extract 5 gr.

- Fine cognac: 15 gr (1 TBS)

- Brown sugar: 20 gr.

- Salt:  3 gr.

- 2 egg yolks.

- 3 gr. baking powder (insurance policy but in retrospect probably not required)

- Molten butter: 20 gr. (please use butter and no shortening, the taste is better, trust me).

- 2 egg whites, beaten to medium peaks 

Mix it all in the preferment, after mixing, fold in the egg whites with a wooden spoon.  For those not using alcohol:  the cognac only serves to provide some extra aroma, you can omit it of course (alcohol bakes off anyway).

The end result will be a medium consistency batter, let it stand for 15 minutes while the waffle iron heats up and ladle it on.  Yield:  12 waffles.


Serve piping hot, add your favourite topping and enjoy.

The end result resembled (to me) to a large extent Brussels waffles in texture (though the recipe is vastly different), very crisp exterior, fluffy interior, not heavy at all and relatively light on calories.  

The preferment made for a nice taste; not acidic at all yet better developed and with more flavour.  For the purists:  I'm aware Brussels waffles need to be baked in a 4x5 waffle iron but I didn't have that shape handy.

This is a great way to dispose of surplus preferment.




Nick Sorenson's picture
Nick Sorenson

Can Sourdough cause Allergic Reactions or Allergies?

Curious if Sourdough (starter etc) can induce Allergies. Or can one have an allergy to sourdough starter/bacteria?

Anyone experienced/heard of this?

CJRoman's picture

Trouble incorporating sugar

In my pretzels, all of the hyrdration is in the poolish. When I later incorporate the 2T of brown sugar into the final dough...I have A LOT of trouble getting the sugar to incorporate and almost inevitably find small lumps despite doing my best to mix all the dry together first.

Any suggestion? Should I switch to a liquid sweetener like molasses?