The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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varda's picture

The Dog Ate My Baguette

I have been making a lot of baguettes lately.    I had a particularly promising one the other day - took a bite, left the room, came back to find the dog eating it.   That's what happens when you make a lot of baguettes, I suppose.   

My husband asked me if I was driving myself crazy with making all these baguettes.   The answer?   No, I'm just trying to learn how to do it.   And you have to make a lot to learn.   So there it is.    And fortunately unlike some of my rye-ier efforts, he actually likes to eat the endless series of practice rounds.  

Today's entry?   A lower hydration overnight retarded sourdough version.   It rolled out a lot longer than I expected - 20 inches - as I did a long rest after the preshape.   It surprised me that the shaping was much easier with this long rest and it didn't seem to get overproofed.    As my baguette trays are 16 inches long instead of proofing on the tray, I placed it diagonally on a 16 inch sheet seam side down, covered with couche, and supported the sides.  

It sang like crazy coming out of the oven and looked ok if a bit mottled - I'm not sure why.

I was thrilled with the taste.   My best yet without question.   This had exactly the smooth creamy crumb texture that I have been striving for with an absolutely crisp and brittle crust.   The sourdough gives it a deep flavor, with not a hint of sour.  

Since I rolled it out so thin it had a bit higher ratio of crust to crumb for every bite, than I might have hoped.   So at least a shade thicker and shorter next time.  

      Final   Starter   Total Baker's %
Salt3 31.6%
Starter70  22%
Mix all by hand - a couple minutes 
Bulk Ferment 1 hour  
Stretch and Fold in bowl  
Seal container and refrigerate for 13 hours
Remove and preshape  
Place upside down in couche  
Rest 1.5 hours   
Shape and place diagonally on 16 inch sheet
Cover with couche and support on both sides
Proof for 1.5 hours   
Slash and bake at 450 for 30 minutes 
steam at beginning   
Rotate at 25 minutes  

If you ask am I likely to be posting any more on baguettes, I will have to quote Winston Churchill.  

"Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."

After all, I still haven't fully explored hydration or yeast vs starter or retardation time or starter plus biga or...

And just in case you are wondering if my dog story is a bit too shaggy...

Does this look like a shaggy dog?



StanS's picture

Flat Bread

Was asked by Levin bred to post my flat bread recipe.

11oz/300g flour,  1Tbsp dry yeast, 1tsp salt,  1tsp sugar,  2Tbsp olive oil,  6oz/175ml water,

4oz/110ml warm milk.   Mix all together  I use dough hook for about 2min.  Let rise for 1 hr or so.

Make 2 equal balls of dough and flatten out about 10" X 6" or so, cover with towel for about 15 min.,

then bake at 425F/220C, 15-20 min and brush with milk a couple of times.  I also use this same recipe for pizza.  I can't take credit for this recipe as it came from the London Telegraph Newspaper.



Jennie Beth's picture
Jennie Beth

Sourdough question, and one other...

Hi all, 

Sourdough question first:

I was given some sourdough starter, and am trying a loaf now. It will do a long slow rise overnight and I will bake it tomorrow afternoon. So, I have followed the instructions the baker (my dad) gave me, and saved back some dough to continue my starter, but I don't under stand WHY I am doing what I am doing. Why feed? Why that amount? Can anyone point me toward a good Sourdough for dummies source of information? I have found instructions for what to feed, when, etc, but I want to understand why I am doing what I'm doing. It is hard to experiment when I don't understand why what is happening happens.

And number two :

Tested a variation of the Jim Lahey No Knead bread recipe. Have had reliable success with the original, so I made a batch with rosemary and green garlic. Full bulb of green garlic, and about three 6-inch long sprigs of fresh rosemary, needles only.  The dough was much more sloppy wet when it was ready to come out of the bowl and be formed, almost unworkable.  Took a fair bit of flour to get it off my hands enough to form a loaf, and was a pretty squatty pancake as it rose. It baked up amazing!! Excellent crust color, nice crackle, best  interior so far (crumb?) nice and airy, full of big holes.  So, why? More moisture, does it necessarily yield more airiness?  Airiness have anything  to do with garlic or rosemary? Same tub of flour as other batches, same container of yeast, similar house temperatures...



PS testing a cheddar and chive no-knead, too...


Tinabean's picture

Replicating German Bauernbrot mix

Just got back from Germany where I picked up a mix for Bauernbrot. Made a lovely loaf with the typical, yearned-for,  spongy, moist, non-crumbly crumb and dark chewy crust. Cuts perfectly for sandwiches. The mix had so few ingredients I thought I would try doing it by scratch. How much ascorbic acid and barley malt would I need for 500 grams of flour (about 75% wheat and 25% rye)?

Like many others, I too am chasing the elusive perfect Bauernbrot. This mix I picked up came awfully close for me. It is interesting how one baker's perfect recipe may not be another's. We have to remember that every region, even every city or bakery tastes just a bit different. Just like potato salad-everyone swears that their grandmother's is the best and only true way to make potato salad.:)


Levin bred's picture
Levin bred

Advice for first sourdough bake

I just successfully grew my first starter.  It is currently in the fridge waiting for me to bake with it for the first time.  The last time I fed it it doubled in under four hours @ 76F.


I used to bake every Wednesday after work when I used yeast, but I understand that I will probably have to do some work on Tuesday now.  I work from 8AM-5PM.  What would be a rough estimation of a schedule so that I could successfully bake a loaf sometime before I go to bed Wednesday night.  Could I feed/mix/knead before bed tonight, fridge ferment overnight, punch down/fold tomorrow morning, and then bake tomorrow night?  Or is that an unrealistic schedule?


bruneski's picture

Improved Schwarzbrot

Thanks to the outstanding help and wonderful pieces of advice I got from Karin (hanseata), Khalid (Mebake), Juergen (Juergen Krauss) in my previous thread about Schwarzbrot (, my (actually, I should say our) tweaking of the original recipe produced a delicious, much improved black bread!

Very tasty, with a very deep, distinct rye flavor, it provides a delightful munching experience. Its crumb looks incredibly nice. In all these aspects, and many others, this version showed marked improvement with respect to the original recipe.

Additional notes: (a) this version had a much slighter hint of sweetness than the original one, (b) black coffee and dark chocolate were totally dropped from the original formula, (c) the amount of dark molasses was halved, (d) the introduction of new techniques (biga, autolysis, retarded fermentation) in the method also permitted a drastic reduction of the amount of active dry yeast: from 8.5 g in the original for-bread-machine version to 1.0 g in this tweaked hybrid-method version (besides imparting the bread a much better, deeper rye flavor).

I believe this version is perfectly suited for some smørrebrød!!! I guess I'll try this tonight!!!

Here are some shots of this Schwarzbrot!

The new, tweaked formula, that incorporates several ideas provided by Karin, Khalid and Juergen, is the following:

final dough: 62,5% rye, 75,0% hydration
yield: one 700-g loaf
Biga (65,0% hydration)
200 g rye flour
130 g water
0.5 g active dry yeast
110 g lukewarm water
120 g unbleached white flour
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp dark molasses
1.5 tbsp vinegar (or buttermilk or yogurt)
3 tbsp soft butter
0.5 g active dry yeast
1 tbsp caraway seeds
0.5 tsp fennel seeds

Note: in another thread (, I've been dealing with the possibility of scaling down the above biga.

Here are shots of slices (using different, improved lighting for the shots):

As to the method, it started with the biga that rested for exactly 8 hours. This was then incorporated into a 30-minute autolyzed mix of white flour and water. With the help of the Dough cycle of my bread machine (yes, ... here it goes again), I incorporated the remaining ingredients (the salt was gradually sprinkled all over the dough after 5 minutes into the Dough cycle; the same was done with the seeds after 10 minutes into this cycle). The final dough was then retarded in the fridge for 17 hours (chosen to fit my Sunday schedule). [edited on July 10] After a total of 2 hours that were needed to get the dough back to room temperature and to go thru a 75-minute proofing period [edited on July 10], it was baked for 1 hour in the bread machine. Another 15 minutes in a preheated 220 degrees C conventional oven were necessary to give it a nicer crust. Finally, the resulting loaf sat untouched (before any slicing was done) for 18 hours.

My take on this experiment: "Learning is always a great, rewarding experience! Learning from you girls and guys here, at TFL, is moreover easy and fun!"

Thank you all. Have a great week! Bruneski.

dabrownman's picture

Yeast Water and ADY Hot Dog Buns

Breakfast on bun day

These were very good buns.  We didn’t make a poolish or a YW levain since we didn’t have time on our side.  It was already 11 AM and no time to grind flour or an autolyse it either.  We used 40 g of YW and a pinch of ADY for the leavens.  This was an all AP bake so not very healthy.  But brats, Italian sausage and Boudin aren’t all that healthy either.


We just mixed everything together, did 10 minutes of slap and folds and 3 sets of S& Fs on 45 minute intervals and then let the dough rest for 1 hour.  We shaped the buns pulling them taut and let them proof for 3 hours on parchment paper, on the top portion of the mini’s vented broiler pan, on the counter.


We fired the mini oven up to 400 F convection and egg washed the buns.  We baked them without steam for 4 minutes and turned the oven down to 375 F convection  and baked the rolls another 4 minutes before spinning the pan 180 degrees and turning the oven down to 350 F convection.


The Last of Sylvia's inspired Key Lime Pie

After 8 more minutes the buns were done and we moved them to the cooling rack and brushed then with milk while still oven hot to keep the skins soft. They came out brown and blistered.  So, blisters aren’t from a cold retard or mega steam or a combination of both - since there rolls didn’t have either.  They were soft, moist and open on the inside.


We are getting close to a fine enriched bun recipe with this batch.

A magnificent sunset tonight



Build 1


Pinch of ADY



Yeast Water









YW % of Total






Dough Flour









Dough Flour












Dough Hydration






Total Flour



Total Water and YW



T. Dough Hydration






Hydration w/ Adds



Total Weight






Add - Ins






Cream Cheese



Olive Oil












papasmurf2525's picture

Crackers made from No-Knead dough

I have been using the No-Knead dough for making crackers for the last six months or so.

I usually make a small batch.  I used white bread, brown bread, rye bread, and a garlic bread.

 When I am going to make the crackers, I cut the dough into little balls.

Then, with the use of a little extra flour on the counter, I run the dough balls thru a pasta machine to make long strips.

I put these on parchment paper, then brush on olive oil and sprinkle on seasonings.  I have used a garlic/onion powder combo, b-b-q seasoning, taco seasoning, Montreal spice seasoning (tends to be salty and spicy), and popcorn seasonings.

I pop the strips into a 400 F oven for about 10 mintues and they are done.   Great for snacking on.

I was wondering if anyone had other ideas for seasonings?   I had considered using curry but shyied away from that.

If you do, send me a email to

Thank you.

bruneski's picture

Biga + flour/water autolysis


Let`s assume I`m making a biga-based bread which

(a) has the biga made with 200 g rye flour, 130 g water and 0.5 g (1∕6 tsp) active dry yeast and

(b) incorporates 120 g unbleached white flour and 110 g lukewarm water in the final dough.

(for simplicity, I`ll omit the remaining ingredients since they are unrelated to my question below).

At the end of the 8-to-12-hour rest period, this 65%-hydration biga is very firm. If I want to autolyse the flour+water mixture, how should I incorporate the biga?

Should I first dissolve the biga, cut up in small pieces, in the 110 g lukewarm water, then mix in the 120 g unbleached white flour and finally let this mix (biga-water-white flour) autolyse for 30 to 60 minutes?

Or should I mix 110 g lukewarm water and 120 g unbleached white flour, let this mix (water-white flour) autolyse for 30 to 60 minutes and then incorporate the biga cut up in very small pieces?

Or is there a another, possibly better, way to do this?

Thanks for any advice! Bruneski. 

mcs's picture

Sinclair's Bakery - July update

Hey there everyone.  It's been a couple of months since my last update so for those who haven't been keeping track on Facebook, here goes.

The farmers' market season is just getting rolling.  There are plenty of events here in the Gallatin Valley, plus some in nearby towns and counties.  I decided not to pick up any wholesale accounts until after the market season has slowed down later in the season.  Today was my third time selling at the Gallatin County Farmers' Market, and Wednesday was my 5th evening market in Livingston, MT.  Livingston is just north of Yellowstone National Park and just under an hour east of Belgrade, MT.

And just so you don't think I'm just standing around taking pictures of the scenery, here's some filled rolls that I sell at the evening market.  The ones with the white sesame seeds have shredded beef in them, the mixed seeds designate chicken teriyaki filling.  Thanks Michelle for the suggestion on the toppings :)


This is the cross section of some croissant dough I made that I was particularly proud of.  Nice, huh?  When it comes out like that, you just go 'aaaaaaaahhhhhhh'.

Here are some strudels I was making yesterday morning while it was still nice and cool.

Below are some croissants I baked up at the market today in Bozeman at the fairgrounds.  "Quick, I need to get a picture before the customers come!"  A vendor came to get one before the market started.  I told him they were currently in the oven, and when he asked how long he'd have to wait, I turned the timer around so he could see it.  "Two and a half minutes," I said.  How's that?

Buckwheat Flax and Sour Rye 400g mini loaves


Next week, I'll be trying the market at Big Sky and possibly testing the waters here in Belgrade at the evening market they have on Thursdays.

After a short hiatus from the baking world because of my move, it's nice to be back in the mix and to be hearing things like, "I used to live in Paris, and this pain au chocolat is better than any I ever had there!" 

I had one customer two weeks ago who told me, "My wife is very particular about her baguettes; she's French.  I'll take one and if she likes it, we'll be back next week."  This week he came back with a smile on his face and his wife.  "Well, I told you I'd be back if she liked it.  We'll take two!"  His wife chimed in, "Three."  :)

Another woman, probably in her late 70's, and with a thick accent came back and bought three baguettes.  She told me, "Last week I got one of your long breads, and it was the best bread I'd ever had, so this week I'm getting three!"  I asked her, "Do you mind if I ask where your accent is from?"  She said, "Switzerland.  Basel"  I told her "When I was a teenager my family and I traveled to the Engadin Valley and I enjoyed the bread and pastries so much, I decided I was going to become a baker."  She smiled.

Anyway, that's the short of it; word is spreading fast and all of the good bread and pastry loving people are coming out of the woodwork.  If you'd like to see more pictures, you can check out the bakery Facebook page here.  All of the photos are set to public view, so you shouldn't need a FB account to see them.

Happy Baking everyone.