The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Most bookmarked

JoeV's picture

I killed my starter...

I have had the same mother starter going since June 2008 when I created it with the pineapple juice method. A week ago I looked in the back of the fridge and remembered that I hadn't fed the starter for a few weeks, and made a mental note (big mistake for an old guy, LMAO) that I needed to do that. So 5 days ago I pulled out the jug, opened the lid, and was greeted with a mold cap that would do a penicillin scientist proud. I dissected the mess and tried to feed what was underneath the mold, but it was fruitless. I guess it was a little more than a couple of weeks since I last fed it, and the batch was deader than last Tuesday. I should have taken a picture, but I wasn't thinking about sharing my stupidity so soon.

Fortunately, about 2 years ago I dried a sheet of starter on parchment paper and put it in the freezer in a 1/2 pint jelly jar with a sealed lid. Over the past 5 days I managed to recreate my starter from 2 Tbs of dried starter, and will now pay closer attention to the feeding schedule. I also have a fresh sheet of starter drying in the oven with just the light bulb to keep it warm and dry it out, and will store another batch for future use and for sharing with friends who also bake sourdough bread.

Losing your starter doesn't have to be a total disaster if you plan ahead and store some dried starter. I'm back in business because of a little pre-planning, and have proved that dried starter will keep at LEAST for 2 years in the freezer if properly stored...and it's from the original mother starter!

dabrownman's picture

Not So Stollen – Christmas 2013

This Not So Stollen version is once againis based on a modification to a real Dresden Christmas Stollen recipe that was posted by nellapower here:  Refer to it for most of the method with a few exceptions below.

 Last year’s stollen can be found here:

 Not So Stollen


Lucy figured out last year, if you replaced the commercial yeast with SD it would be SD Stollen and if you replaced some of the white flour with other whole grains..... it would be a SD Multi-grain Stollen that tasted better? And if you used YW for part of the levain then you would be as nuts as my apprentice.    But others might not think so.


I'd be surprised there isn't a SD YW, multi-grain stollen out there somewhere but I can’t find it easy enough – except for the one we did last year.   Just about everything in the bread world has already been done by some baker like nellapower already but this stollen has landed far, far from Dresden and it might be called something else like Sourdough YW Multi-grain Dried Fruit Bread with 5 Different Hooch’s and one Pooch..


Of course, Lucy being Lucy, that is not all my apprentice did to this once fine recipe either. She is determinately diabolical with her changes and modifications to just about any bread - and can’t be stopped when she gets rolling, plus this one has more opportunity for her to get he paws wet.


She still wasn’t at all sure SD alone could lift this even more hefty lump of multi-grain stollen goodness properly LL by itself so, once again, instead of commercial yeast, we threw in some YW for the liquid in the SD levain to give it an uplifting boost.


We didn’t use a 24 hour 1% starter, counter top levian build with all of the whole grains in the levain like last year.  We are older and didn’t think we could last another 24 hour 1% build and wiser since sour will never come though in this bread.   So we put the whole grains in the levains but also added the normal amount of YW and SD to speed things along with our non standard standard 2 stage build.  We will do a 3 stage separate build for YW and SD next year.


We used home ground spelt, rye, farro, kamut and some ww for fun.   Lucy tossed in some AP into the levain this year because she felt like having some ‘Fun with Flour’.  She really loves the tiny Krup’s coffee grinder we used to make the whole berries less chunky and more suitable for stollen.  We made our own citrus peels again this year by taking off the skin only with a XOX peeler and boiled them 3 times before dying them and coating them in home made vanilla sugar.


 Lucy upped the alcohol again this year, even over last years sodden fruit fest, by adding some bourbon to the home made limoncello and arancello that were there last year to enhance the orange and lemon peel.  We also used the traditional dark rum and amaretto too - in total about 60% more proportionally than Nellapower’s originl.   No water was required in the fruit soak again this year-- as the fruits had an even harder time trying to soak up this year’s spirit mix.


Lucy once again decided to cut back some of the dried fruits a little but not as much as last year and once again added walnuts and pistachios for a little crunch – now she thinks the crunch is traditional.  She found the YW frozen fruit in the freezer door again this year not knowing that it was saved for this bake. Once again it was apple and cherry pieces. 


To cut some of the fat, not that it reduces it much with all the butter in this recipe, we replaced all of the cream with Lite Mexican Media Creama.   Who knew they would come out with a half the fat Mexican table cream in a can – way to go Nestles.   We also chucked in 25 g of butter flavored Crisco this year, on top of the butter just to mix the fatty things up more than usual plus…. Lucy though the ingredient list was a little short.


Like last year, we decided to replace some of the white sugar with dark brown sugar hoping it would pair better with the dark rum that is made from molasses if you buy the good stuff, but once again, this years dark rum was probably not that good and probably made from HFCS.


We added some nutmeg to the spice list again thinking a little more spice would go well with the extra hooch just like it did last year.  Once again we forgot to add the ground almonds to the fruit to sop of some of its wetness.  Lucy put the ground almonds in the dough flour by mistake, again and is now a new tradition it seems.


 We added 60 g or bench flour when we added the fruits to keep the overall hydration closer to the original.  We added 75 g more hooch than we should have used to begin with…. so the flour would have come in even more handy……. if Lucy had hands


Usually we would put a sunset in here but, the moon rise last night was stupendous - the clouds and orange tree made it special.

We basically cut last year’s recipe for 2 loaves in half so the kneading was a breeze this year.  Once again we changed the method slightly by cutting in all the fat into the flour before adding the media crema which were supposed to be part of the levain but we used YW and water there instead.


For some reason a volunteer jalapeno pepper plant sprung up in total shade under the orange tree this year.  Never had one ther before.

This made the kneading easy since we could do 10 minutes of slap and folds before adding in the fruits and nuts and the 60 g of bench flour.  The dough was very manageable this year and the dough tightened itself back up as we folded the add ins into the dough.  This method is much closer to short crust pasty and stollen is much closer to short crust pasty than it is to bread anyway.

The minneola tree looks like it did well thsi year but it is the worst year in so many.... 

This year we bulk fermented the dough in a bowl on the counter for 6 hours before we shaped it and put it in the fridge for a 15 hours retard.  The dough set up into a hard lump in the fridge with all that butter and it did not proof one iota in the cold.  So we left it on the counter on a heating pad for 6 hours until it did look ready for the oven which it never really did.


Made Italian sausage sliders out of the last of Mark Sinclair's rolls - just as good as the hamburgers.

Italian sausage slider with home made dijon, butternut squash soup with Parmesan, pickled Serranos and red pepper for the slider, steamed Italian summer squash, salad from the pot garden, brie, sweet and white potato baked wedge fries with BBQ sauce - Yummy!

Oddly the dough cracked through the bottom at about the 4 hour mark of the final on the counter but, since it hadn’t really rose much.  I ignored it and let it go another 2 hours.  It still didn’t look like much proofing had gone on in the 12 hours total it spent on the counter before and after the retard.  I pinched the bottom closed before we un-molded it on parchment paper and a peel and slid it in the oven on the bottom stone,


Sliders were served with a nice salad from the pot garden.

My apprentice still thinks she might be related to Rin Tin Tin.  Why she thinks this might be a possibility is strange indeed with her being so short legged and stupid – a polar opposite of Rin Tin Tin if there ever was one.


This year’s Not So Stollen version actually looks like a stollen instead of the flat pancakes of last year – yea!.  It will not be wrapped in cotton cloth and placed for 6 weeks in a beautiful blue holiday tin with silver snowflakes like last year though.   With 8 days till Christmas, this stollen will be lucky not to be completely gone by then – if it isn’t stolen first.


We baked it for 20 minutes at 375 F with steam and for 70 minutes at 350 F convection.  The oven was turned off when the stolen hit 203 F.  Even a year later we still don’t know what temperature it was supposed to be in the inside when done so we went with last year’s temperature of 205 F before removing it to a cooling rack.


 We did not have to cover it with foil either like we did at the at the 50 minute mark last year so it wouldn’t get too brown.  For some reason, this one did not spread too much either but you can’t say it sprang much, but it did crack like it was trying to do something on the puffy side.


This Not SO Stollen - 2013 looks and smells terrific and, as Karin says, there is no reason to wait 6 weeks to eat it - so we won’t and if we want another one later we will make another one,


Once again, we are getting pretty far away from the nellapower’s original recipe for this Modified Dresden Christmas Stollen - Version 2 even though they are still quite similar in concept except for all those pesky minor changes :-)  Not So Stollen is still the perfect name for this unusual attempt to make an alien stollen of the 3rd kind.


We buttered it as it came out of the oven and later covered it in a lemon drizzle per the GMA’s and then a thicker dusting of powdered sugar was applied.  I see French toast on the Christmas breakfast horizon for some reason.


Thanks to nellapower for posting her original recipe and her help in our making something close to it conceptually and to the GMA’s for the lemon drizzle idea that they put on their fine stollen. 


Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!


ComboSD YW Starter

Build 1

Build 2

 Build 3



SD Multigrain






Dark Rye
























Whole Wheat
























Starter Totals






Hydration - 72 G YW






Levain % of Total












Dough Flour












Dough Flour












Media Creama 225






Dough Hydration












Total Flour






Total Water, Creama, Cream






T. Dough Hydration






Whole Grain %












Hydration w/ Adds






Total Weight












Add - Ins






Lemon Peel






Orange Peel






























Ground Almonds






Sugar 12, D. Brown Sugar 25






Red Malt






White Malt






YW Apple and Cherries










































1/4  tsp Cinnamon






1/4 tsp Cardamom






1/4 tsp Nutmeg






1/4 tsp Mace






Dark Rum - 25 g






Amaretto - 25 g






Limoncello - 25 g






Arancello - 25 g






Bourbon - 25 g






Bench AP Flour -60 g

Butter Crisco – 25 g






( B. Flour included in Total Flour and for Hydration Total)




bagel_and_rye's picture

#BreadChat's new + improved home

24 hours ago, our new and much improved #BreadChat page went live at

The new format better features bios of our co-hosts, as well as media about the history of the chat. Best of all, the page is optimized for viewing on all devices (phones, tablets, laptops). Many thanks to the team at BreadStorm™ for donating their time to create and maintain #BreadChat's new home.

Please check out the new page and tell us what you think. 

And please join us for #BreadChat tomorrow, 2-3pm Chicago time. The topic is, "What's so bad about bread improvers?"

—Jacqueline, Dado, and the Chicago Amateur Bread Bakers

P.S. For bakers new to #BreadChat: Now in its second year, #BreadChat is the monthly Twitter discussion hour for bakers of yeasted, artisanal breads—both amateur and professional. During that chat, we broaden and deepen our technical knowledge about bread baking, expose ourselves to new concepts, and network with fellow bread bakers around the world.

ironmanchef's picture

Tartine country loaf hydration percentage

If this has been answered elsewhere please forgive me. 

In tartine bread chad states hydration of country loaf at 75  %. When you are talking hydration percent dont you have to include flour and water in the leaven which would raise hydration % closer to 77? This is new to me so just want to understand.


Timbo's picture

Milling Rye Berries

OK so another newbie question. I was able to pick up some rye berries from a Natural Foods store and I am wondering if there is anything different about milling rye. First of all it didn't specify dark or medium and I am not sure if dark or medium is a product of the milling process or if it actually comes from two different berries. If anyone knows I would appreciate it.I tried to ask but the couple of people I was able to talk to that worked there were not sure. I also didn't have a lot of time. The second thing was it had instructions that said to prepare soak in water and then had cooking instructions which I thought was a little strange. I do plan on visiting there again this weekend but if anyone know I would appreciate the help as I don't want to run it through my Nutrimill until I know what I have and what I am doing. Thanks in advance for any help.


CeciC's picture

Straight 75% WW Bread






I used the most basic formula,

250 G Bread Flour

750 G WW Flour

800 G Water

22 G Salt

3 G Yeast

After mixing it I gave it 3 S&F, and it hold it shape pretty well. Im gonna increase the hydration to 85% to see if it will give me a better crumb. 

BTW This is my first time to get an ear.

Heres the crumb Shot


minani's picture

I guess I can call it Naan

Hello Guys, 

Here's a bread that I made a couple of days ago and I thought I'd share it with you. Im just going to jump into the recipe. 

The following are the ingredients I used:

- 200 g bread flour.

- 120 g room temp water (60% hydration)

- 1/2 tsp instant yeast

- 1/4 cup greek yogurt 

- 4 g salt 

- 3 g sugar (optinal) 

- 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil.

I mixed water, yeast, yogurt, salt, sugar together, put it in my stand mixer bowl, added the dough and mix on low speed for about 3 min. then i added the oil and mixed for another 3 mins. l then let the dough relax for 30 min and did three stretch and folds at 30 min intervals and then put the whole thing in the fridge. 

The next day I took the dough out of the fridge 2 hours before baking. divided it into balls and let them proof for about 2 hours. I preheated my oven to the max 550 F. when i was ready to bake, i took one of the balls and stretched it like if it was pizza dough (not too thick and not too thin) and poked it with a fork a couple of times in the middle and then placed in my 550F oven for about 5 min (or untill it puffs up and browns). As soon as it came out, i brushed it with some melted salted butter and it was soooo delicious.



Skibum's picture

Yeast water pulla!

Holy oven spring Batman! This was essentially the same as my last pulla bake but used only YW levain to leaven the loaf. I also used only 30% bread flour and 70% AP. The dough felt quite a bit more extensible than just using strong bread flour. Yeast water makes for some mighty tasty pulla and sweet dough and the loaf volumes are truly astonishing to me!

I once again brushed on an egg glaze and sprinkled liberally with sugar, ground almond and chopped slivered almonds.

Just the thing with a good cup of strong expresso coffee from my Bialetti moka -- Spanish style cafe con leche, half hot milk and half expresso. Yummmmm!

Happy baking folks! Brian


Premium Value Products's picture
Premium Value P...

Special Offer For The Fresh Loaf Members - Premium Silicone Baking Mat

With Floyd's permission we are offering you a very special launch deal on our premium Silicone Baking Mats.

These professional quality mats are available exclusively on with FREE second day shipping for Amazon PRIME members.

The Fresh Loaf members have been allocated PROMO code JBC6CALN to be used at checkout to get an additional 30% off the already low launch price. Your discounted price is only $12.59 and saves you $15.40 off the list price of $27.99. There is also a bonus ebook on how to get the most out of your baking mat and some recipes to try (one is for Artisan Bread).

All the product information about these sought after silicone baking mats can be seen on the Amazon listing page.

Click this link now to get your Silicone Baking Mat

Please understand that this offer has to be limited to the first 25 on a first come first served basis.

Thank you

Roger Clark

ibor's picture

Baker's percentage. Long and ardous calculations.

I understand and use the baker's percentage formula for calculating the amount of bread one wants to make, based in the percentage of its components. Flour is 100%  and the rest of the ingredients vary accordingly.

How do you calculate the bread's final weight when you use a sponge like in Reinhart's New York Deli Rye - The Baker's Apprentice ? In other words, how did Mr. Reinhart arrive at the  formula he gives for the bread, based in the percentages he provides?

The "Baker's Math System" from his book does not present, in my opinion, a clear explanation.

To abbreviate, I will not include all my failed calculations or opinions, of which I have more than enough.



Makes 4 lb of bread

Rye Sponge Starter

7 oz sourdough starter
4.5 oz white rye flour
4 oz water
12 oz onions
1 oz vegetable oil

Final Dough

16 oz bread flour
4.5 oz white rye flour
1 oz brown sugar
.56 oz salt
.22 oz yeast
.22 oz  caraway seeds
1 oz vegetable oil
8 oz lukewarm buttermilk or milk
2 to 4 oz water, or as needed

egg white, for wash (optional)



Baker's percentage formula

New York Deli Rye       %

Rye Sponge Starter

Barm                             156

White Rye Flour           100

Water                              88.9

Onions                           267

Vegetable Oil                  22.2


Total                             634.1

Final Dough

Rye sponge starter          139

High-gluten flour              78

White rye flour                 22

Brown sugar                      4.9

Salt                                    2.7

Instante yeast                    1.1

Caraway seeds                  1.1

Shortening                        4.9

Buttermilk                       39

Water (aprox)                  14.6


Total                                307.3


Let the experts speak