The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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Emerogork's picture

Is it cheating?

I purchased a 1lb lump of dough for 79c at the supermarket. Let it defrost in the refrigerator for 2 days.  Set it on the counter to warm up for about 12 hours. I have baked my own bread only a few times but this one did not get that soft punch-down effect even though it did rise quite nicely.  I kneaded it a few times anyway even through it was a tight wad in itself.

Just the previous day, I heard of a neat way to have a morning wake-up to warm bread and tried it as follows:

At about midnight or so, heat the oven to its max for about a half hour after coming to temperature to charge the pizza stone. Place the dough in and immediately turn off the oven.  Wake up the next morning to a nice loaf of warm fresh bread.  Your guests will think you got up at 4am to bake.....

It was the best, tough crust, soft center, flavorful bread I had ever cooked.  It was still not the flavor I am trying to get in my other discussion here, but I am very happy with it just the same.




breaducation's picture

Seeded Naturally Leavened Sandwich Bread

Seeded Sandwich Bread Loaf Crumb

      I'm on a mission to not buy anymore bread. Sure, I'll still buy loaves from bakeries that I respect or that have an interesting loaf I want to try but when it comes to my daily sandwich loaves I've decided to make them myself from here on out. Why did I decide this? For one thing, I know how to make bread and I like doing it so it'd be kind of dumb not to. But the real reason stems from a recent visit to the local health food supermarket. While browsing the aisles, I decided to take a look at some sandwich breads and find out what they're made of. I expected the loaves at this store to contain whole ingredients with no added chemicals considering this was a health food store. For the most part the loaves had decent ingredients but I was surprised to find that almost every single sandwich loaf contained added gluten. I was a bit disappointed. I'm definitely not one to jump on the "gluten is evil" bandwagon, in fact I love gluten, but could the fact that we're pumping pure gluten into supposedly healthy loaves of bread have something to do with the rise in people who can't seem to tolerate it? I don't really have the answer to that question(and it doesn't seem like food scientists do either yet) but I do think I could do better than these supermarket breads from both a health and flavor standpoint.

     My goal is to make great tasting sandwich breads that are healthy and last a long time. I will try to document many of them here.

Seeded Sourdough Sandwich Bread Loaf

   The first loaf I've made in this endeavor is a naturally leavened 75% whole wheat sandwich loaf packed with seeds. If my goals are to have a tasty, healthy and long lasting loaf then I think I've definitely found it with this bread.

Flavor & Texture

The combination of toasted sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, millet, amaranth and flax seeds is insanely delicious. Honestly, it kind of blew me away. It has a perfect nuttiness that makes me want to eat endless slices of this bread on its own with nothing on it. The grocery store loaves this loaf is replacing cannot compete. The 75% whole wheat adds a nice robustness while still allowing for a nice open and soft texture.


I recently read the bread chapter in Michael Pollan's new and highly fascinating book Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation, which I highly recommend reading as it was super informative about wheat, milling and the health properties of bread, and two things really stuck out in my mind regarding health. One, is that the way in which grain is milled has a substantial effect on the level of nutrition it contains. For example, the industrial method of milling uses roller mills and first separates the germ and bran(the healthiest parts of wheat) from the endosperm. This creates white flour. So when a big flour company wants to make whole wheat flour it must first make white flour and then add the germ and the bran back to the white. Apparently, many of the nutrients available in the wheat kernel are lost in this process. Traditional stone milling keeps the bran, germ and endosperm together at all stages of the milling process and preserves the entire nutritional spectrum of the wheat. Who knows what method of milling created the flour in the super market loaves!

Seeded Sourdough Sandwich Bread Loaf

Another thing that Pollan explains very well in his book is that whole wheat breads are made significantly more nutritious when used in combination with a sourdough culture. This is because the sourdough breaks down enzymes in the wheat that inhibit nutrient absorption in your body. The sourdough almost pre-digests the grain for you, making it easier to digest and significantly healthier. Given these two bits of information I decided to make this bread(and all future sandwich breads I make) with flour that has been stone milled and using a sourdough starter. This bread features hard red wheat flour from Community Grains, a flour company that stone mills and uses only wheat grown in California(might as well go local too!). It's also completely naturally leavened with a long bulk fermentation in the fridge to ensure that the grain is well broken down by the acids in the sourdough.

Long Lasting

I have made sandwich loaves in the past that were really good for the first couple days and then started to become very weak, dry and crumbly after that. It's hard to eat an entire loaf of bread in a couple days if you're only using it for your daily sandwich. So with this loaf I also wanted to put a focus on keeping quality. I did three things to help extend the life of the bread:

  1. I used sourdough which lowers the Ph of the bread(more acidic) which gives a stronger structure to the final product and inhibits mold growth.
  2. I used apple cider vinegar which has similar effects as the sourdough and acts as a preservative.
  3. I made this very high hydration at 95%. In my experience, the wetter your dough is the longer it takes to dry out. Some bakers, such as Richard Bourdon, also believe that wetter doughs allow the starches in the dough to cook more fully making the final product more digestible.


All in all, this loaf definitely met all my requirements of a good sandwich loaf. It is very tasty with the seeds and a very mild sourness from the sourdough. It is extremely healthy and so far after 4 days of use it still has a very soft and moist crumb. Success!

For the formula and more photos visit

portermariena's picture

Baking Stones

I am starting to experiment more with bread and have read up a little about utilizing baking stones to get a nice outer crust and a good oven spring, among other advantages. I was wondering if there are any recommended brands, types that work better than others and what not? Also what is a reasonable price to expect to spend on one? I have heard that using heavier, thicker ones work a lot better. Any information, tips and recommendations would be appreciated!


Slainte's picture

I like my plumber ...

... but I really don't want him to become my best friend.  Any thoughts as to how NOT to clog up the sink?  Tips or tricks?

I scrape out as much dough as I can from bowls, buckets, and so on, but no container is ever dough-free when I go to wash it.  I've been letting the stuff soak, in an effort to dilute any dough bits, but am not sure if this is useful or not.

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!  Thanks!

Mark Sealey's picture
Mark Sealey

Peel (esp. for Mini Oven)

Thanks to the moderators for removing the spam and hopefully the spammer yesterday.

Inevitably with it went a nascent thread on peels.

I just wanted to say that I eventually jumped and bought EXO's Super Peel.

Works as advertised - and worth every penny. Good luck!

Abelbreadgallery's picture

Moitié-moitié loaf

Moitié-moitié loaf, with french flours. 50% T80 organic stoneground wheat flour, 50% T65. 70% sourdough, zero acidity.

Abel Sierra, Barcelona.


ericreed's picture

Potato, Rosemary, and Roasted Garlic Bread

Adapted from the Potato Rosemary bread in Reinhart's "The Bread Baker's Apprentice". His uses a biga, I really wanted to use sourdough. I did add commercial yeast as well, concerned that pure levain might struggle with all the mashed potato and such in there. And I was bad, I have not baked the original recipe, just went right for my adaptation!

My recipe in the screenshot. Hopefully readable enough. Just to note in the original he used 1.4% rosemary. I didn't have that much and even at 1% it was a lot of friggin' rosemary. We'll see how it tasted when it cools. Maybe 1.4% is better, but the rosemary certainly smells strong as is. Also, I have no idea how long I mixed. I thought with the reserved levain and potatoes, it wouldn't be an issue doing an autolyse, but it was difficult to incorporate the rest of the ingredients afterwards. Reinhart didn't use one at all. Next time I think I would do one, but with only a portion of the flour and water. And the levain amount in the final dough is minus the 15 grams seed. Oh, I also used the leftover water from cooking the potatoes in place of regular water in the final dough.

davidg618's picture

Bacon-Cheddar-Chives Scones

My wife scans King Arthur's recipes about once a month. She found this recipe recently, and asked me to bake them. I've learned not to say "No", but I was afraid she would be disappointed. I've not been very successful making scones in past times. They'd come out dry and dense. Consequently, I've not made them in years.

I was pleasantly surprised with these. Despite the liberal amounts of bacon and cheddar in the mix the scones are light, delicate and full of flavor, much like a well-made biscuit. I think the doubled amount of baking powder--1 tablespoon in two cups of flour--is the reason, and I'll take some of the credit for not mishandling the dough.

Here's the link to the recipe.

David G

JustPizza44's picture

Pizza Dough Issues

Good Afternoon,

I am brand new to The Fresh Loaf-someone told me this was the place to go with my questions.

So I am trying to make a Neapolitan style pizza like my Dad's, who learned from his mom in Italy.

I do the cold ferment for 3 days, take out of fridge for 3 hours, and then form the pie. The dough is EXTREMELY pliable and stretches way too much. It also does not hold its shape when I try to slide off the peel (cornmeal applied) and typically folds onto itself on the 500 degree stone. So I end up throwing out half the pie. The OTHER half that was not folded onto itself comes out way too thin-can't even pick up a slice. However crust is tasty.

I see folks discussing very specific things about the dough characteristics-tension, stretching, etc. I don't fully understand these nuances and I don't know what to adjust-more water, less oil, more flour? I don't have my specific recipe handy but it is basically a 50/50 mix of KA whole wheat and regular unbleached, water, salt, oil, and yeast. I mix BY HAND (no dough hook) for twelve minutes and then spray lightly with olive oil, put in fridge in an aluminum tin designed for dough rising, covered with plastic. It rises very well over the three days, basically doubling in size.

Any suggestions would be much appreciated! Best regards