The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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bnom's picture

Excruciating video on how to shape a baguette. Please do not try this at home

I was looking at Ciril Hirtz' excellent video on shaping baguettes and stumbled across this "Expert Village" video showing the "cut and pull" technique for shaping a baguette.  It is so bad it's funny.  There are several other videos by this same fellow taking one through the entire process.  In one he explains that steam is used "because the moisture from the water kind of vaporizes and soaks up inside the bread giving it that nice pillowy softness inside."  

The "cut and pull" technique for making an "authentic French baguette bread"

And here's a link to the final product -- about the saddest looking baguettes I've ever seen:

bluerose's picture

Walnut bread from Korea

Hello All,

I'm a Korean home baker with 4years baking experience.

In most of Korean bakeries, they make some cakes and pies and sweet breads. Hard rolls are not popular here.

You can find some baguette. However, the baguette is not pure sometimes. They add milk, cheese, butter, sugar, etc.


When I traveled European countries, I tasted some really nice breads and I decided to make something like it by myself.

I studied from this website and some books.


This is the latest version of my study - my daily bread.



Bread cut



  • Whole wheat flour 400g

  • Water 850g

  • Pressed oat 100g

  • Molt 1g (1tea spoon)

  • Instant dry yeast 15g

  • Sea salt 17g

Mix them all, cover with plastic wrap and leave in room temperature for 30minute.

  • Bread flour 800g
  • Walnut 200g - pieced as you like
  • Grape seed oil 200g
Mix the sponge and bread flour just until no flour shown. Add walnut and grape seed oil and mix just until oil is fully mixed with dough. In a oiled bowl, put the dough and cover with plastic wrap. Place at room temperature for 10 minute.
Carefully take out the dough from the bowl on lightly oiled work place. Stretch and fold 4 sides of the dough and put it back to the oiled bowl. Cover and wait for 10 minute.

Take out and fold 3 more times with 10 minute interval as described above.
Let the dough rise double of its original size in room temperature. Divide dough and make two big loaves.
Cover with cloth and let rise for 45 minute at room temperature. Bake at 230oC preheated oven 45 minute. I put one cup of boiled water in a bowl of preheated gravel to generate steam.
The final result is as above. Please advise me if I have something to improve.


Tatoosh's picture

Granite versus Marble Pastry Board

While hunting bricks for a baking stone, I noticed some very nicely poslished stone slabs. They were fairly thick, at least one inch, perhaps a bit more.  I was told they were granite.  So I am curious if I had a 24 inch by 18 inch piece cut, would it work as a viable pastry board?  I understand that many bakers prefer to use wooden boards/tables for preparing their bread doughs, but that chilled marble is commonly used for pastry dough.  Since pastry dough is NOT available where I live in the Philppines, making it myself is the single alternative if I want some.  I have never made it before and I have been watching tutorials on youtube along with reading here and elsewhere for a better idea on what I should be doing. If a good cool stone would increase the chances of success for a good pastry dough, I'll work it into the budget down the road. I have a small-ish freezer I can use to chill the stone.  But would grainte suffice?   Marble is available in large squares, but not nearly so thick as the granite slabs I found. They are rather thin marble tiles, about 24 x 24 inches, commonly used on headstones here,  Which would be the better alternative?


spinge's picture

Using/Sourcing Baking Stone Alternatives or Substitutes

I have read regarding baking stones, and some people cannot understand why for the love of god people are discussing quarry tiles and substitutes, when FDA approved baking stones are readily available.

I have no option but to choose a substitute to baking stone, and I'd be glad if you could help me find one. To put it bluntly,

To use a baking stone, a baker need to satisfy 3 conditions:

1) Live in a location where baking stones are available

2) Or Live in a place where safe handling and delivery is made

3) And Have the item tested for safety

Unfortunately, I don't satisfy either:

1) I'm from India, specifically Mumbai city (its similar to NY city, but much worse), and apparently no baking goods supplier knows what a baking stone is here. I just went to some B2C shops in this godforsaken city and they were totally confused. I'm sure the pros get their tools B2B and imported. Also Google, shows no suppliers in India. None whatsoever.

2) Even if I do import one, I will not receive the baking stone in one piece, due to the way things work here. To put it simply, the handling is so bad here, even if it was FedEx-ed/UPS-ed or DHL-ed, the delivery will be made by a chilled out local who will definitely break it if its says handle carefully, or steal it if it says valuable :D Ok so I'm cynical, but I've had my share of experiences when I ordered Zildjian cymbals from NY some years ago which 'luckily' arrived 7 months later, yeah I kid you not. Luckily they were too durable to break. Other items aren't so fortunate.

3) The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is USA specific, and others countries may have their own version, but where I live the item to be tested (baking stone) isn't really available and therefore obviously there is no further question of testing.


Regarding Unglazed Quarry Tiles: Its a USA specific substitute from what I've read.

As far as Mumbai is concerned, some Tile shops I went to here clearly said its unavailable, others have no idea what it is. Even if I was told it is available, there is no way to check if it is glazed or unglazed. The seller will pass off a glazed piece as a unglazed here, as long as he makes a sale, since value of life in a country of 1 billion+ (1.1 billion now?) comes very cheap. :)

Therefore, of the other available substitutes (Granite, terracotta flower base plate, ceramic dish, soapstone, anything else? PLEASE SUGGEST OTHERS) which one would you think would be the best bet to get a good bread, especially pizza, or focaccia, and are there any conditions, that need to be satsfied for them to work. eg. unpolished granite, etc.

Although I'm throwing random darts here, I hope you will help me.



P.S.: This is my first post :)

sf mountain's picture
sf mountain

Spreadsheet translator--volumetric recipe to gram wgts recipe

Does anyone know of an Excel spreadsheet type translation program that will turn a standard (American-style) volumetric recipe into a gram weight recipe? Being unable to find one, I have been working on a simple version: a spreadsheet that translates the whole recipe at once. Most conversion systems i've seen on the internet work on a one-ingredient-at-a-time basis; i like being able to translate the whole recipe at one fell swoop..


mrpeabody's picture

An article on baked baking soda as a substitute for lye...

Just curious but I caught an interesting article in the NY Times about alkali ingredients (specifically baking soda and lye).  The author contends that baking baking soda creates a reasonable substitute to lye (while not as strong as lye, baking does make the baking soda stronger than unbaked baking soda).  As a professional geek, I find this very interesting.  I know that there are many here who make their own pretzels and bagels.  Thoughts?

Here is the article:


Mr. Peabody

davesmall's picture

Is That Plastic Container Safe?

I like to keep refrigerated bread dough in the refrigerator so I can bake a loaf of bread, a pizza, pita bread, or fougasse on a whim without planning ahead. I keep the wet dough stored in a plastic men's shoebox because it is the perfect size and shape for efficient storage. However, I worried about the safety of the plastic. Could unhealthy chemicals leach out of the plastic and into the dough?

A little Google research on the web turned up this excellent article that I'd like to call to the attention of bakers in this forum.

The most important thing to know is that not all plastics are safe for food storage.


Know the code. Look on the bottom of your plastic to find the recycling symbol (a number between 1 and 7 enclosed in a triangle of arrows). The code indicates the type of plastic you are using and can give you important clues about safety. "We generally say 1, 2, 4 and 5 are considered to be the safest," says Sonya Lunder, senior analyst at the Environmental Working Group. Try to avoid using plastics with 3 or 6, as these leach chemicals that may be harmful. Number 7 is an "other" category that includes BPA-containing plastics called polycarbonates. These plastics, which you should avoid, will have the letters PC printed underneath the 7.

In case you are wondering, my shoeboxes are coded "2"


Dave Small



GSnyde's picture

Sourdough Typology - SJSD, SFSD or what?

As I begin the mental preparation for trying to bake David's San Joaquin Sourdough this coming weekend, I am distracted by a matter of semantics and typology. I am familiar with the origin of "San Joaquin Sourdough" (see David's 12/14/09 comment at  I assume the name was coined as a reference to the Great Valley in which Fresno is located, where he lives.  I am in San Francisco, which has a sourdough of its own.  But I'll be be baking San Joaquin Sourdough in San Francisco, with a starter that evolved from David's starter from the San Joaquin.  It may be that my starter, born of generations of native San Franciscan yeasts, albeit descended from earlier generations of Fresnite yeasts, is now a San Francisco Sourdough Starter.

Perhaps my bread ought to be named for some geographic feature located between Fresno and San Francisco.  Maybe Mt. Diablo.   "Pane di Diavolo" sounds pretty sexy.  Or perhaps it should be named for the town of Fort Bragg, where that original glob of David's starter came into my possession.  In fact, my starter had bred for many generations in a jar that formerly held Pudding Creek Farms Ollalieberry Jam, made in Fort Bragg.

Before I make myself crazy trying to give a name to a bread that hasn't even been made yet, I should inquire whether there are typological principles that apply to the varieties of Sourdough Bread.  Is there a quasi-governmental body that enforces sanctioned naming conventions?  Does a new formula need to be a certain distance removed from a previously named formula before it gets its own name?  Or do we just get to make it up as we go along?  I kinda suspect it's that last one, but I don't want to get into any trouble.

Thanks for any help.


breadbakingbassplayer's picture

9/16/10 - 34 1/2 Hour Cold Bulk Retarded Dough Pain Au Levain

Hey All,

Me again.  This whole baking and blogging thing is a little nutty...  It's something one of those things that's fun, tedious and addictive...  Anyway, let's get on with this post...  How long can you cold bulk retard a dough and still have some good bread?  I've done 24 hours with good and bad results.  How about longer?  Why cold bulk retarding vs cold retarded proofing?  Well, from my experience, cold retarded proofing in a linen lined banneton seems to dry out the surface of the dough, so after baking, the crust becomes thick and tough...  This is my experience.  Also, I have a small under the counter refrigerator that has enough room to bulk retard maybe 4kg of dough in 2 X 4L plastic tubs.  So bulk retardation is my only option short of not sleeping if you've been following my baking schedule these days...

Here's my recipe:

Liquid Levain:

150g White Whole Wheat Flour

50g Rye Flour

50g Liquid Sourdough Storage Starter (100% hydration)

200g Water

450g Total Liquid Levain


Final Dough:

1000g AP

616g Water

30g Kosher Salt

450g Liquid Levain

2096g Approx Total Dough Yield



8:15pm - Mix liquid levain, cover and let rest on counter overnight.


8:00am - Mix final dough (in large mixing bowl put in water first, then levain, flour, salt).  Mix with rubber spatula until shaggy dough forms.  Cover and let rest 20 minutes.

8:25am - Knead for few minutes with wet hands until relatively smooth dough forms, transfer to lightly oiled container at least 4L, cover and let rest.

8:45am - Turn dough in container (stretch and fold), cover, place into refrigerator (40F), go to work.


6:30pm - Come home and take the dough out of the refrigerator and find that it was working on escaping the container

Divide into 2 equal pieces, shape into boules and place into linen lined bannetons and proof for 3 hours.

8:40pm - Arrange 2 baking stones on 2 levels, put steam pan in oven, preheat to 500F with convection.

9:45pm - Take bannetons out of plastic bag, lightly flour and give poke test...

10:00pm - Turn off convection. 

Turn boule out onto a lightly floured peel, slash as desired and place into oven directly onto stone.  When last loaf is in, pour 1 1/2 cups water into steam pan, close oven door.  Turn oven down to 450F and bake for 50 minutes, rotating between stones half way.  Then turn off oven and leave loaves in for another 10 minutes.

Loaves are done when the internal temp reaches 205F or higher (210F preferred), and they weigh at least 15% lighter than their prebaked weight.  Mine were 1050g before baking, and around 870g after, which is about a 17% weight loss...

Cool completely before cutting and eating...  Crumbshots tomorrow morning...  I wonder it this is a less stressfull baking schedule...  You tell me...


mimifix's picture

What if the label says organic but...

What if the label says organic but the bakery you know and trust couldn’t source
any organic flour that week? Do you have an expectation of being informed before
you purchase a loaf? If you knew, would you wait a few days until they could buy
organic flour? Since the flour that week costs the bakery less, would you expect
to pay less?

As a customer I expect any bread I purchase will have a correct label on the
wrapper. If that wrapper says organic flour then I expect an organic product.
Especially if I’m seeking that specific product and paying an extra few dollars.

As a former bakery business owner, however, I understand the disruption in
business if signs must be posted and customers are upset. And what do we use
instead of all those pre-printed bags claiming organic ingredients?

I ask this question because my students have worked in established organic
bakeries and have seen this happen. We talk about ethics and mission statements,
since these students are looking for guidance in starting their own businesses.
I have offered suggestions based on the size of the business: small bakeries
post signs while larger wholesale bakeries add a disclaimer to their bags with a
phone number or email address for further info.

I’m curious about your opinion to this very touchy question.

Many thanks,