The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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Emonahan36's picture

NY Kaiser rolls

I have had fair success with the hard flaky crust on these rolls,  but they seem to be too dense inside,  or maybe thick is a better description.  They also turn very hard quickly, but that may be another problem.  What would be a solution to get the  inside lighter?


Mebake's picture

66% Sourdough Rye (More like the recipe)

I Have blogged about my first 66% Sourdough Rye before Here, but this time, its more like what it should be: close textured, more sour, More Rye-ish. This time i used Medium Rye (I mixed sifted Rye Flour with Whole Rye Flour in 50/50 ratio).

The fermentation happens faster when whole rye is added, and my bulk fermentation was 45 minutes only. As expected, the dough never came together as it would with lower Rye breads, but the falvor of sour rye was very pronounced.

I guess that this is how Hamelman's 66% sourdough Rye may really look like.


codruta's picture

baguettes, weight, length

hello, I need an advise regarding the right proportion between the length of the baguette and the weight of the dough. My oven (in fact, the stone inside it) is 39cm wide. If I want to make baguettes of 35 cm length, how much dough should I use for one, to obtain a proper ratio of crumb and crust? I guess I'm not the only person out here with a small oven, maybe some of you had the same problem before and can provide a good advise. I made baguettes before, but usualy they were too thin, and once they were too fat (large in diameter)... so, I would appreciate any advise I can get.


Nickisafoodie's picture

Pizza lovers: Easy to recalibrate home oven up to 35° hotter

Like many I don't have room for a brick oven (condo) and have tried various ways to try to emulate same.  The 550° max setting on my oven makes very good pies, but not nearly as well as my dream 2 minute brick oven pie, nor as good as my 4 minute 650° but "not for everyone" method posted below.  I'm happy with the variables re dough, sauce, and toppings, thus the oven temp being the issue.

I just found a link (see bottom of post) that shows how you can calibrate your oven for up (or down) by 35° in 5° increments.  This feature is common as it is not unusual to find that ovens are off by up to this amount from the factory, thus the manufactuers provide an easy way to calibrate to the correct temp assuming you tested oven with an accurate themometer.  Once that is done, the fun begins:

I have a better use for this feature since my oven is accurate - increase by the max 35° adjustment and hope that my 550° max turns into 585°.  That should result in a 5-6 minute pie vs. 9-12 minutes at 500-550°.  Given my GE oven has a self cleaning function with insulation designed to withstand 900+ degrees for hours on end, there is no danger with a mere 35° increment- nor would the manufactuers provide for this feature if the insulation could not handle it.

For the adventurous- The above approach will be a departure as I usually run my oven at 650°-675° with a 90 minute preheat resulting in a 3 1/2 to 4 minute pizza as explained in this post:  Those pizza's rock and gets me as close as I can absent the real deal.  This method works very well for me when the stone is near the bottom of the oven, and after the pre-heat I turn on the broiler (which is on the ceiling of the oven, about 12 inches above stone/pizza.  The retained heat of the stone combined with the broiler flame is the closest I've come to emulating a 2-3 minute brick oven bake.  Also at these hotter temps the hydration percentage needs to be in the 70-75% range (I use natural leavan and 3 day fridge per the above link) to ensure a moist geletinized inner crust and slightly chared outer crust. 

But 90 minutes is a long time to get my stone to 650° thus my interest in trying out what will hopefully be a 585° oven and likely a 45-60 minute preheat.  And at 585° I will just let the oven bake rather than trying the broiler after the preheat (but may have to revisit that and try!).  Hopefully this weekend...

The following link talks about GE ovens, likely that most manufactuers have this feature either in the owner's manual or on Google.  Easy to reset back for traditional baking...

patrick348's picture


In a week and a half my family will be beginning our vacation in San Francisco. In addition to Boudin Bakery, WHERE should we visit for the best bread baking experience.

Joyce Billy's picture
Joyce Billy

kneading times

I have begun to experiment with grains other than wheat.  I use a Bosch machine, and knead whole wheat bread for 10 minutes with excellent results.

Does anyone know about kneading time for a bread 50% kamut and 50% spelt? 

MadAboutB8's picture

Krantz (yeast) Cake with peanut praline and chocolate filling


I found this recipe in Dan Lepard’s Exceptional Cake cookbook. Given that it was book about cake, I didn’t expect to see baked goods with yeast in there, especially not for the dish called Krantz Cake.

Apparently (quoting Dan Lepard) yeast cake is a feature of German baking. I was curious to find out how yeast leavened cake would be     different from baking powder or soda.

I expected the cake to have texture of soft bread, like brioche, something soft but still feel like bread. It actually turned out to be quite cakey soft, which I think resulted from the mixture of butter, egg yolks, cream cheese and sour cream in the dough. However, it wasn't as crumbly and fluffy as the typical cake. It still got some chewy texture in it which was rather nice. 

The recipe called for walnut, sugar and chocolate for bread filling. I replaced ground walnut and sugar with crushed peanut praline I made some weeks ago. The crushed peanut praline went well with the recipe. It gave caramelised crust and lovly flavour. The cake shape is similar to babka (cut-side-up plaited bread). 

Full post, more photos and recipe can be found here


breadbakingbassplayer's picture

6/4/11 - Latest Bakes - Invisible Pizza, Baguettes, and Olive Oil Brioche with Dried Pears and Toasted Walnuts

Hi All,
Just wanted to let you all know I'm still baking even if I'm not posting as often...  Here's the latest from my kitchen:
1.  Invisible Pizzas (We forgot to take pictures)
2.  Baguettes
3.  Olive Oil Brioche with Dried Pears and Toasted Walnuts

This recipe makes 2 pizzas, 2 baguettes, and 2 olive oil brioches...  Bear with me through all the madness:
Recipe: (Makes approx 3000g of base dough)
Stiff Levain:
400g @ 50% hydration

200g AP
200g Water
1/2 tsp instant yeast
402g Total

Final Dough (approx 65% hydration):
1196g AP
52g WW
36g Rye
808g Water
38g Kosher Salt
1 1/2 tsp Instant Yeast
402g Sponge
400g Stiff Levain

For Olive Oil Brioche with Dried Pears and Toasted Walnuts
180g Extra Virgin Olive Oil
175g Dried Pears
175g Toasted Walnuts

Digital Scale
Large Stainless Steel Mixing Bowl
Measuring Spoons
2 - 4L Plastic Tubs with Covers
Rubber Spatula
Plastic Scraper
Bowl with Water
Large Plastic Bag
Baking Stone
Steam Pan with Lava Rocks
Oven Thermometer
Instant Read Thermometer
2 Loaf Pans
Baker's Linen

1.  Prepare stiff levain, mix, let ferment for up to 1 hour, and refrigerate for 24-48 hours.

2.  4:45pm - Mix sponge, cover and let rest for up to 1 hour.

3.  5:30pm - Mix base dough by hand in large mixing bowl. Add wet ingredients, and then dry ingredients on top.  Mix from bottom up with rubber spatula.  When shaggy dough forms, mix dough with wet hands for a few seconds to work out all lumps.  Place in bag and let rest for 1 hour.

4.  Roughly cut up dried pears, and toast walnuts in pan and let cool.  Lightly oil 2 tubs with olive oil.  6:30pm - Stretch and fold dough and divide into 1600g and 1200g portions.  Place 1600g gram portion into oiled tub, cover and let rest.  7:00pm - Turn baguette dough, and in the mixing bowl with the 1200g portion, add 180g of olive oil and slowly mix by hand until olive oil is combined completely into the dough.  This takes about 10-15 minutes.  Then add the toasted walnuts and dried pears.  Mix until combined evenly, place into plastic tub, rest for 45 minutes.

5.  7:45pm - Turn baguette dough, and brioche dough, rest for 1 hr 15 minutes.

6.  9:00pm - Arrange baking stone in oven on 2nd rack from bottom.  Preheat with convection until oven thermometer on baking stone reaches 600F.  Divide baguette dough into 4 pieces at 400g.  Preshape 2 baguettes.

7.  9:15pm - Final shape baguettes, place on bakers linen couch, cover and let proof for 60-90 minutes.  Oil 2 loaf pans with olive oil, divide dough into 2 equal portions (900g approx), shape brioche, brush tops with olive oil, cover with plastic wrap and leave to proof until dough reaches top of pan, then refrigerate.

8.  9:45pm -  Prepare pizza as you like, turn off convection and oven temp down to 550F, and bake for 6-7 minutes directly on stone.  Boil some water in a pot for steam pan.

9.  10:30pm - Turn oven down to 475F, Pour boiling water into steam pan, and place on top rack of oven.  Turn baguettes out on to flipping board, slash and place in oven.  Bake 10 minutes at 475F with steam, then 15 minutes at 450F without steam.  Cool completely before cutting.  Take brioche out of refrigerator.

10.  Turn oven down to 400F, remove plastic wrap from brioche, place in oven in pan directly on baking stone.  Bake for 45 minutes until internal temp reaches 190F to 200F.  Turn oven off.  Remove from pan, return loaves to oven directly on baking stone for 10 minutes.  Cool completely before cutting.




varda's picture

Semolina Rye Pain Au Levain


A friend of mine who traveled a lot, returned from a trip to Africa (Ghana I think) and announced "everything goes with everything."   This meant apparently that one needn't fuss about colors or styles - one could simply wear anything with anything.   I have begun taking that perspective with bread.   Today I tried a formula where I baked with 68% bread flour, 16% rye, 15% semolina (not durum flour.)   As I was mixing it up, I had doubts.   Does everything really go with everything?   The bread is baked.    I still say yes.  

The formula with 68% hydration, 95% bread flour, 5% whole rye starter.

Semolina100 10015%
Starter260  24%
Salt12 121.8%

Mix all but salt and autolyze for 1 hour.   Add salt and mix.   Ferment for 3 hours with two stretch and folds on counter.    Cut and shape into batards.   Proof seam side up in couche for 2 hours.   Bake at 450F for 25 minutes with steam, 20 minutes without.  

This is tasty but just slightly overcooked.   I wish I'd removed after 40 minutes.   Also I meant to steam for 20 minutes, not 25 but I made a mistake with the timer and then got distracted before I could correct it.   I don't think that made a difference. 


breadbythecreek's picture

Survival of the Fittest Pt. 2 - Raisin YW Wins!

If you've been following this blog, when we last left this subject, I was trying to determine which of my many jars of YW I should keep. I have decided that having multiple jars of different fruits is pointless, since it is near impossible to tell which fruit was used by either taste or smell.  Some color will be added from darker fruits, but that's about it.  So, the first trial to see which fruit water was the most effective (the most rise in the least amount of time) revealed that my water made from cherries (initially with dried, then switched to fresh) jump started with strawberry water, was the winner. 

The second heat was to test the cherry water against apricot and raisin.  I ended up having two raisins as my first raisin water was discouragingly slow to activate.  I purchased new raisins from a different source and started a second jar.  One variable that I hadn't accounted for was the relative amount of sugar in each of the solutions that I tested.  To better calibrate this for the second heat, I obtained a brix meter (for wine making) and was able to test each solution straight from the jar and add an appropriate amount of fresh water to bring the solutions to the same level of sweetness across the board.

It was interesting to compare the brix readings from the various jars.  At just 3.4, the winner of the first round, cherry, had the lowest brix.  The older raisin had a brix of 3.6, followed by the new raisin at 3.9, and finally, the apricot had the highest at 5.0.  Since I was after a final test amount liquid of 10g, I calculated the amount of fresh water to be added to each tester to bring all of the testers' brix to 3.4.

Initially, I tried to use a 100% hydration for the test runs (10g solution added 10g bread flour).  However, the paste was too thick to go down my new test tubes, so I had to increase the hydration to 143% (10g solution to 7g bread flour). This created a liquid enough paste to go down the tube and still have enough viscosity to rise back up.  

The following photos show the progress 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 hours into the race. Testers are from left to right:

raisin2 (new raisin), apricot, raisin1 (old raisin), cherry

 As you can see, from the start, apricot and old raisin were much more active than the other two, just an hour into the race they were pretty much neck and neck.  Cherry and new raisin barely moved.  


After two hours, cherry had picked up some speed, but raisin2 was still thinking. Apricot was in the lead after two hours, followed close behind by raisin1.
    Three hours in, apricot still leads, raisin1 a close second, cherry is picking up, and raisin2 still stuck at the gates.

 Four hours in, apricot and raisin1 neck and neck, Cherry is stalled, but raisin2 is coming alive!



At the finish line, 5 hours after the start, we have a winner. Raisin1 peaked at the top of the tube, Apricot never made it that far.  Had I let Cherry and Raisin2 go, they may have gone farther, but I called it: Raisin1 will live to rise another day!