The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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CharSiu's picture

Hand Mixers?

Hi, I just want to inquire about using hand held mixers for kneading. Beforehand, I did a little research and most people strongly recommended against kneading with a hand mixer.


Apparently it's because the mixer is not equipped to handle such a stiff 'batter' (dough). However, I have a recipe that makes a slack dough. Would it work if I kneaded it with a hand mixer? Or do you advise against it? 


BTW- in case you are wondering, I do have a stand mixer, but my mom broke the dough hook. Long story. 

sydneyh's picture

Paging Sourdo Lady

Dear Sourdo Lady,

I require your assistance in improving my sourdough bread.  I have been using the following recipe (below) for refrigerated dough, I add a cup of my starter to the recipe.  Everything goes as planned UNTIL I remove the dough from the refrigerator.  I knead it using the envelope method and allow it to rise, sometimes 4 - 6 hours.  If I don't bake the dough in the bowl I poof it it, it falls flat, like raised pita bread.  What tips do you have to help, the product is tasty but it doesn't look very good.  :(

BLinn's picture

my problems using dutch ovens...

I have several concerns about using dutch ovens. 

1.  LOTS of parchment paper.  Is anyone concerned about using reams of paper for each loaf?  I feel bad about setting my loafs on small rounds of parchment - then re-using them as long as they hold up.  One day, I hope to get good enough to bake without the parchment. 

2.  How to deal with that HOT pot!  Getting the loaf out with crumbly paper from the hot pot - or do you leave it to cool down? ...See #3.

3.  I like to bake 8 loafs in one oven heating.  I don't have that many dutch ovens - or oven space.  So using baking stones & a pan of lava rocks on the bottom of the oven means I can bake 4 loafs at a time.

4. Note:  I recently discovered SOAPSTONE!  The only U.S. quarry is off Rte 81 in Virginia.  We went there & bought 3 huge stones for $150 - we cut them into 9 stones & gave several to friends.  They bake better than ceramic baking stones - but are very heavy to handle.  The guys at the quarry swear by using them on the grill.  If you buy online - the soapstone will be from Brazil (if you care about such things).

Skibum's picture

Chocolate babka from ITJB

Oh my! Great idea Josh! Any other great ideas like this would be most warmly welcomed.

Best regards, Brian

Brown Dog Artisan Breads's picture
Brown Dog Artis...


I've been reading these forums for a while now and have learned so much from them. So thank you! I've decided to join in on the action since I'm getting a bit more serious with my bread creating. I'm in the process of researching the possibility of selling at local farmers markets here in central Massachusetts. Looking forward to communicating with y'all and sharing ideas!

David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

Tartine - Overnight Bulk Fermentation

I have been baking nothing but the basic country loaf now for several months, and my breads have always come out pretty good, though varying considerably in flavor.

I am a weekend baker and have wanted to get my bakes done early Saturday instead of late Saturday night or early Sunday.  So I decided to take another stab at doing things backwards.

Friday morning, I took my starter out of the fridge (last fed, a week earlier), and created the leaven.

Friday night, I mixed the dough and 90 minutes later, I added the salt and did one turn 30 minutes later, before placing it in the fridge.

Saturday morning I took out the dough, and did another turn. About an hour later I shaped and let it proof at 69 degrees, for 4 hours before baking.

The breads had a decent amount of oven spring.  The crumb was a bit dense.  The flavor was okay.

I would not say it was my favorite bread.  I reheated it on Sunday afternoon and it went over very well. I thought it was a little chewy and maybe a little gummy, like it was under baked slightly.  The second loaf I cut this morning and made a sandwich out of it. I do prefer less holes because it is easier to make PB&J without big holes running through my bread.  Again, the bread was a bit chewy but not too hard to eat. Gave my mouth a workout.  It did not taste gummy.  The flavor was okay.  I had a piece with butter and that was delicious.

So, it is not a ringing endorsement for baking bread for early Saturday afternoon, but I know that if I really need bread for Saturday, I can get it done in a pinch.  I might try it again with the proofing done at a warmer temperature, since the dough stayed pretty cool throughout the proofing.


jeffbellamy's picture

Tartine pics


Almost to the end of my first 100 pounds of flour and I bought a Taylor and Brod proof box.


Things are starting to turn out the way I want them to. This loaf 1lb 14oz, baked in combo cooker.

billgraney's picture


When I first started baking bread and pizza I was all over the map in regards to baking different types of breads. As a result I tended to have mediocre results because I never got dialed in on particular styles. Realizing that things weren't getting better I decided to only make French bread baguettes, rye boules, and dough for pizza napoletana.   These are the only doughs that I've made for several years and there is always room for improvement but I'm pretty happy with the current line up.

Thinking it was time to expand a bit I opened up The Bread Baker's Apprentice and decided to make a New England Anadama bread.  It came out pretty good and I've included a photo.  When I was adding the molasses it seemed like an excessive amount but the molasses taste ended up being rather subtle and I think I will try adding more next time.   

I'm curious if people have experience with this type of bread. I grew up in New England (Western Mass.) but I don't recall every hearing of this bread before, but I've been on the west coast for a long time so maybe it slipped my mind.  Are there locations where it's a popular bread?  

annam's picture

SF Dough, ferments doesn't sour

I went through the process at the suggested site "abreadeducation" ,   waited and checked daily after a week.  It did ferment   lots of small bubbles  but no sense of sourness at least in the odor.   Before I try baking with it,  should I detect some odor of "sour" or will this only show up in the bread?  I want it to be truly SF bread  nice and tangy.

lekarls21's picture

Bread didn't rise till this morning?? So confused!

Hello there! I attempted to make a Hawaiian Roll yesterday. Followed the instructions to a T and listened to the advice from people who had already made it. The recipe said to sprinkle the rapid rise yeast into the dough bowl after adding my wet ingredients and half my flour then to add more flour after adding the yeast. Then it was supposed to sit for an hour to rise. I marked where it was so I could make sure it rose and it didn't move. Not once. Because I was making dinner I set it aside and honestly kinda forgot about it because I was tired and this time change has messed up my sleeping pattern lol but when I woke up this morning I immediately remembered about it and went to clean out the bowl but saw that it had risen in size by this morning. Would it still be ok to use even though it took all night or should I throw it out? I was very cold in the house yesterday and that's why I thought it wasn't rising but it was cold last night too. I don't  know what to do and I don't want to waste all the ingredients it took to make it lol. Thank you in advance for any advice!