The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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breadbliss's picture

Ovens for Baking Breads & Cakes

Appreciate if someone can recommend a good oven for baking Breads & Cakes.

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.

Patf's picture

loaves dry and crumbly

I make white bread and wholemeal bread, and the last 6 months or so both have been dry and crumbly, with a space between the top crust and the crumb. I haven't changed anything in method or ingredients.

For the white I use Allinsons, and the wholemeal, Doves Farm organic.

For 1.5kg of flour, 4packs of dried yeast (32g)

I've tried using more oil (sunflower) but this hasn't made any difference.

Can anyone suggest a reason/remedy? I wonder if the quality of the flour has changed? Too much yeast?

My bread used to be rather more dense and chewy.

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



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Cream Cheese



Olive Oil












Casey Wheeler's picture
Casey Wheeler

Thirsty Grains?

Normally my starter is around 60% whole grain and 40% white flour, then started using a rye starter with this current batch and the dough is much much stickier. My recipe is 100% flour 66% water 12% starter (equal parts water & grain) and 3% salt. 

Again the whole wheat/bread flour starter i get a very workable dough with great gluten strength but with this rye starter i'm making a mess. Help/Suggestions/Insight?

carltonb's picture

Types of "Cultures" ie Starters / Levains etc

I have two students this coming year that want to specialize in breads, which is not a problem.

We then came to a discussion of sours, starters, levains etc. They wanted to become more familiar with them, again not a problem. 

What is turning into a problem is the discussion we had on them. They want to know what four to six starters they should have on hand all school year to use. Basically what types should they become familiar with. 

My suggestions were a wheat and rye.

What do you TFL posters think they should keep in their repotoire.

Thanks for the help.

Carlton Brooks

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. 

kah22's picture

Baking the Richard Bertinet way

The past few months I've been baking the Rchard Bertinet way. Using ordinary yeast, weighing all ingredients, and working the dough rather than kneading it.And I'm loving it!

There is a difficulty I'm experiencing and that is in the wetness of the dough. I work the dough pretty well giving it anywhere up to a 150 slaps but a lot of the times it remains sticky. That's the odd thing it's pretty regular but doesn't occure all the time.

Bertinet is pretty definate in his directions 'stick to the recipe all the way!/ I'm wondering, however, what difference different types of flour might make e.g. is Tesco's any different than say Sainsbury's?

Of course it is simple to just decrease the volume of water been put into the dough, I've done it and you don't have to reduce by much.. Still before doing that I'd be interested in hearing from any Bertinet followers who had the same problem.

Dusty Couche's picture
Dusty Couche

Hobart grinder

Hi, pretty new to baking here.  I have an old commercial hobart coffee grinder and would like to try and use it to mill wheat. Has anyone here used a machine like this for wheat? Ran some through the other night and there were lots of coarse chunks in there.

i thought i might adjust the grinder to get a finer grind and run the grains through twice? and sift out any big bits left.