The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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Elagins's picture

Great News!!! Doing the Rye Bread Book for WW Norton

hi all,

To those who've been following and abetting my baking adventures lo, these many years (ITJB test bakers, supporters, boosters, et al.), thank you. The news now is that I've just gotten a contract from WW Norton (editor: Maria Guarnaschelli), to write the definitive rye bread book (title TBD). We're looking at about 350 pages, 80-100 recipes from all over Europe and North America for breads that, with a few exceptions, contain no less than 50% rye. I'll be publishing some of those recipes from time to time on my blog, NYBakers Bench. I'll keep everyone posted.

As the MS takes shape, I'll be needing test bakers and pre-publication yet again, so keep an eye out for that announcement as well. I'm privileged to be a member of this community.

Stan Ginsberg

kensbread01's picture

Questions about BBA Pannetone

Today I'm going to do bake of my Peter Reinhart's Pannetone.  I have real baking forms, not the tin cans or something I constructed with parchment paper, scissors, and tape. (But don't get me wrong, I love it when people come up with creative ideas while baking or anything for that matter)...   I want it to turn out good... but I'm a little apprehensive about a few things.

I did not create the barm as suggested for the wild-yeast sponge.  Instead, I used 7 ounces of my wild-yeast starter (that I had been refreshing for the last few days) that I had created for Tartain bread.  I created the sponge yesterday in hopes of making the bread today.  I let it sit on the counter for at least 5 hours before storing in fridge overnight.  Initially it did not bubble or foam too much, and the smell is just a little bit yeasty.  Not overpowering, but somewhat ripe.  Also, it did not double in size, maybe it grew 10-15%.  I'm wondering if this is going to work.  I was expecting it to grow much more, after all the starter is pretty strong stuff.  So, that is my first question... should I try to get this to bubble or form more?  (maybe add some dry yeast and let warm proofing box).

Then, my next question concerns the rum infused dry fruits.  I bought some candied fruit and doused in rum.  I even added the vanilla extract, orange extract, and lemon extract... even added additional Tablespoon of each... duhhh,, not sure if that was a good ideal.  The stuff look ready to go but there is some liquid rum in the jar.  Should I just throw the whole thing in the mix or should I drain the rum and extracts?  If I throw it all in, of course I will add more flour to the final mix to get the dough right.  I learned my lesson from the Cinnamon-Walnut Raisin bread I did a few days ago.

frumgirl1's picture

Soap in Starter

I cleaned the bowl I keep my rye sourdough starter in. I put my starter back into the container. Let it rise as bit and now I see bubbles that look like soap bubbles. I have never encountered this before and I can only imagine I did not clean all of the soup residue out of the container before I replaced the starter. Say it ain't so. Is there a way to fix this? Do I need to throw it out and begin anew?

CeciC's picture

Cinnamon and Raisins wholewheat levain

Last week I made a similar loaf which ended up with a flat disc. With enormous help I get from Josh and DA. This week I pull myself together and try again. I got so excited when its out of the oven, coz it looks like a successful bake to me.

Heres my formulae

200G white Levain (100% hydration)

600G Wholewheat flour

400G AP Flour

780G Water 

20G pre-soaked raisin water

20G Salt

3cups Raisin

2Tbs Cinnamon

1) Mixed starter, flour and water autolyse for 60mins

2) At the same time, soak raisins with warm water

3) drain the raisins. Add 20G of Raisin Water and salt into the dough and mix with pincer method until some gluten is developed



4) Bulk Fermentation for 3 hours (dough Temp @ 75F)with 3 S&F (30,60,90)  Squeeze in raisin during the first fold. 

 First Fold

 first fold

 Second fold

Second fold

5) Bulk Fermentation Complete and ready to be divided (To determine when it is ready, I did a finger poke test, poke it if it doesnt bounce back, it has completed it bulk fermentation.)

complete bulk fermentation

 6) Pre-shape and  it into a boule. Retarded for 12Hours in the fridge. Then baked in Corning casserole Dish.





After 12 Hrs Retard


60% ww Cinnamon and raisin sd

One i didnt seal the seam very tight and proofed it seam side down and bake in forkish style with natural explosion.

60% ww Cinnamon and raisin sd

The other one with tight seam proofed seam up. 



60% ww Cinnamon and raisin sd

Cumb Shot - coz of my poor photo taking technique, the crumb has a nice brown color but apparently is not showing in the picture



This post has been submitted to YeastSpotting

GregS's picture

Diagnosis desired please!

This is Hamelman's Vermont Sourdough with Added Whole Wheat. It follows his recipe right down the line. I am totally thrown by the ghostly white crust. Note that the end slice shown is normally brown on the bottom and the grigne looks excellent.....but...

The loaf was risen overnight in a banneton dusted with rice flour. The oven was at 450 (as high as it goes). The loaf was steamed twice and baked on a preheated stone for a total of about 25 minutes.

While you are looking at this, any thoughts about the rising shown at the cut? It looks to me like the bottom (which was on top in the banneton) rose pretty well, but the top didn't get much expansion in the oven.

Thanks so much for any comments. I treasure the fine people on this blog and trust your experience. Also, Season's Greetings to all!


clazar123's picture

Does powdered sugar have more cornstarch in it lately?

It seems to me that the last few years, the cookies I make with butter and powdered sugar are drier than they used to be. Is there more cornstarch and less sugar than in years past? Perhaps as a cost saving measure? Is there a standard or somewhere I can find out this information?

Specifiacally it was a shortbread recipe with butter,powdered sugar,vanilla,salt and flour. Simple recipe but the dough seems drier than in years past.

I never used to weigh ingredients so the suggestion to weigh ingredients is pointless right now as I'm comparing the recipe as it has always been and I have always made-and it is in cups and teaspoons.


dabrownman's picture

Panettone Forced English Muffins

For those who end up with a gazillion pounds of starter when making panettone, English muffins are a great way to use up some of it without having to toss it,

We used the basic method that kjknit's used which calls for 280 g of flour and 240 g of milk with, in this case, 50g of SD and YW mixed levain all mix up together and left to double or triple overnight on the counter in a 1 quart Pyrex measuring cup overnight for at least 8 hours.

The the next morning you add a tablespoon of sugar,3/4 tsp of salt and 1 tsp of baking powder to the mix and knead with some bench flour for 4 minutes.  then roll put 1/2" thick and cut into rounds that are proofed on parchment paper dusted with semolina flour for 45 minutes. Don't forget to to dust the top of them with semolina before covering with plastic.

 Then you just dry fry them in a cast iron skillet or an electric skillet like Lucy used set to 350 F.  About 4 minutes a side will do it.

This particular batch was 50% white whole wheat flour and 50% AP using skim milk. They are very tasty indeed.

So this year, we have made hamburger and hot dog buns, pizza, pancakes and now English muffins in an attempt to not throw any panettone levain away!

Now Lucy will be hard pressed to come up with another 3 or 4 ways to use up the extr4a levain yet to be made..

We had these Wolferman style EM's as Egg McMuffin knock offs with butter blackberry jam, pepper jack cheese and spicy breakfast sausage, 

braber's picture

Sourdough Starter Question

I'm new to making sourdough bread.  One thing I'm confused about is whether to pour off and discard some starter between each feeding.  I store my starters in the fridge until ready to use and put them on the counter for a few days before baking.  Do I pour off some of the starter after I take it out of the fridge, feed it, and then continue to pour and feed until ready to use?

David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

Tartine Basic Country Loaf, in a lodge loaf pan (with pictures)

So, now that I am nearly a novice bread maker and able to make a loaf of bread almost from memory,* I decided it is time to stretch my wings and see if I can make the bread in my Lodge loaf pan.

Keeping in mind that my goal was a loaf of delicious bread that I could slice more easily for sandwiches and that I had the idea only after the final rise and therefore needed to get a round risen dough into a rectangular pan (which I let sit on stove while first loaf baked), I did not fail out of the gate. Surprising, since I winged  baking times and used a turkey roaster lid on top of a griddle to create my dutch oven.

The loaf had phenomenal oven spring, and browned fairly nicely. I think I could have made a nice loaf with half the dough. The bread is perfect for sandwiches. It cuts pretty easily, is just chewy enough and, of course, delicious.

*This morning I was going to start two round loaves for the holidays.  Before doing so, I made wafiles with my starter. And after putting away dishes, I realizes that I had used my leaven and not my starter. So, now I know that leaven with an egg, 2 tbsp of olive oil, and a tbsp of grade B maple syrup (and a bit of baking soda in warm water stirred into the batter) makes a great Belgian waffle!  The batter is super thick, does not fill the griddle when open but spreads into a full waffle once the griddle is flipped, and it comes out great and crisp. Three waffles. 

dabrownman's picture

Friday Night SD YW Pretty Plain Pizza

This time we went back our favorite crust; Sourdough Focaccia Romano.  The SD levain used 10 g of rye starter, we added 45 g yeast water for the liquid and 45g of white whole wheat.  The 100 g of levain made up 20% of the total 500 g dough flour and water weight.


The dough included fresh rosemary, garlic and sun dried tomato to live up to the Focaccia Romano name.  To make the dough come out to 70% hydration,  246 g of AP flour and 164 g of water were mixed with the levain, 12 g of olive oil and 6 g of salt at 2% of the total flour weight.

After 3 sets of slap and folds of 8, 2 and 1 minute that were spread 12 minutes apart and 3 sets of S&F’s from the cardinal compass points where the rosemary, garlic and sun dried tomato were added in on the first set, the dough came together into a satin smooth ball.

After 2 hours of being undisturbed on the counter, the dough was retarded for 48 hours where it rose well in the fridge.  The dough was allowed to warm up on the counter for 3 hours before being shaped into (2) pizza crusts of 250 g each.  The dough was very extensible yet plenty strong.  There was no tearing even though the dough was shaped into very thin rounds.


As per our usual, we brushed the crust with Mojo de Ajo and docked it with a fork before sliding it into the 550 F oven on the bottom stone for a 2 minute par bake before removing it from the oven to be loaded up with the toppings.  It took about 6 minutes more baking to finish the pizza off heat wise. 


We really cut down on the toppings this time; chicken Italian sausage, red bell pepper, red onion and crimini mushrooms with mozzarella and Parmesan cheese for my wife’s pizza and added green manzanilla olives, pepperoni and fresh basil for my pizza


The sauce was unique and extra spicy this time.  Lucy added her extra hot and spicy, home made, left over, red Mexican sauce (that also had tomatillos and green chilies in it too) to our usual spicy Italian pizza sauce in a 50/50 blend.  We like it very much and may be our go to fusion pizza and Italian sauce from now on


The crust browned up well, was very crisp and thin - just the way we like it ….and it blistered too!  The 48 hours in the fridge helped the flavor even though the YW did mask the SD tang somewhat.  It turned out to be fine pizza dough in the end and we like it as much as our go to SD version.  Those who don’t like SD will prefer this one.


Now we just have the Chocolate Rye Salted cookies that breadsong posted for Christmas and a panettone for New Year’s  left to bake this year - maybe a white SD too next week between the two. 

When you have a slow, long build of white levain for a panettone bake, you end up with a lot of SD levain / starter waste.... so might as well make some pancakes with the toss.  Served with sausage, an egg. Maple syrup dm balck grapes.

 Yes.... it is chopped prickly pear tuna - I see some combo jam and margarita mix in the making.

And have a salad with that pizza..... to make it healthy and more filling:-)