The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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qahtan's picture

round loaves

 baked in round a toast loaf.. qahtan

qahtan's picture


davidg618's picture

Pretzel Buns

The recipes for both the Pretzel Sandwich Buns and Maple Mustard Chicken Salad appear in the August 2013 King Arthur catalog. The easy to make buns are soft and taste like soft pretzels; the chicken salad is delicious. I roasted one chicken breast and two thighs (both boneless) at 325°F for the meat.

David G

clazar123's picture

Good to test old pieces for lead

I was so excited when I found an old chinois that had very tiny holes to strain out raspberry seeds and such. I had been looking for one for a while.  The piece was  very heavy tin/metal with its wooden pestle but missing the stand. It looked like it might be either a turn of the century piece or early 1900's. For $2, I couldn't go wrong-or so I thought. I tested it for lead with a home testing kit and the test was reactive for a high amount of lead-the brighter the purple color on the indicator, the more lead! The indicator was a bright purple!  Into the trash it went.  I didn't need my gooseberry jam to be lead lined. I am so disappointed.

Antique pieces can be sturdy and well used but can be lead-laden. Home test kits are available at most hardware stores and are very easy to use. Lesson learned.


Wingnut's picture

8/2 Bake

The Sweet Stuff


I am not much a proper pastry baker but I had a request from my Wifes workmates for some sweet morning breads so I decided to give it a go.

Cracking on with the dough….

Rolled out one half of the dough and laid out the Blueberries, Toasted Almonds and Lemon Zest…...

Rolled it up and proofed overnight…...

Rolled the secong dough with White and Red Rasins, Dried Tart Cherries, Brown Sugar, and Toasted Walnuts.

The next morning (4:30am mind you) I pull them out and let them warm and proof wile I make the Maple-Caramel Drizzle for the finished lot.

Everything out of the oven and ready to plate

Drizzle and box up to be driven over to the Wife's work place

As far as I can tell they enjoyed everything, but I was knackered by 8pm that day.



Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

Major Issues With Whole Wheat Loaves

Ok, I have now baked my 5th whole wheat loaf FAIL in a row, and am more than frustrated.

Back story:

Before last weekend, I had not previously attempted baking any breads with a whole wheat content that passed maybe 20%.  Last weekend I attempted a formula similar this one from Phil - Sesame Wholewheat:

It turned out a disaster.  Dough felt nice and showed no signs of any issues after bulk ferment and shaping.  Felt very nice. After overnight retard in fridge, it looked like it flattened out quite a bit in the banneton.  The bake made a 'loaf' that was extremely flat, the scoring disappeared and turned into a flattened seamless line.  The crumb was exactly what one would expect from a flattened loaf - dense, no holes larger than a millimeter.  2 loaves in the trash.

This week, I picked up some good organic stone ground wholegrain whole wheat flour, along with high quality bread flour.  I thought this would help make a whole wheat loaf with better success.


This time I attempted a wholewheat loaf that was closer to a type of bread I have had great success with numerous times before.  The Tartine loaf but the Whole Wheat formula.  Again, the dough felt amazing after the bulk ferment and shaping.  Nice and billowy and shaped nice and tight with great gluten development.  I wish I had a photo of the shaped dough before and after the overnight fridge retarding.  The dough, just as last weekend, flattened out and spread out in the banneton.  I figured this may be ok, because the Tartine Country Formula dough kind of does the same thing after an overnight retarding.  I had 2 loaves ready to bake.  I baked the first one, and it turned out a flat mess.  I would even say worse than last weekend's fiasco.  I decided to test something out with the 2nd loaf.  I reshaped and proofed it for about 45 mins.  The reshaping felt nice...kept it's shape and felt nice and full.  Not what one would say over-proofed dough would feel like.  It felt just as nice as it did in the shaping the night before.  This one also turned out horrible!  It maybe rose an extra 2 cm from the first flat loaf, but still NOTHING close to a successful bake.  What is going on here??  Over-proofing?  If so, how is it over-proofing in the fridge??? Too much hydration causing spreading out?  If so, how come it doesn't have at least some larger holes???

The photos below are of the last loaf.  Please help.  I am so frustrated by this, especially as I am able to turn out decent loaves with most other formulas, but this whole wheat thing has got me back to the stages I was at when I first started baking with NO knowledge at all. I would like to note that I follow temperatures and procedure EXACTLY to what the formula calls for.  I measure the temp of the rooms for bulk ferments, etc.  Very particular.


And what it SHOULD look like.


golgi70's picture

Farmer's Market Week 11 CranPoppy Spelt (60% WholeGrain)

So my love for spelt continues to grow.  I loved the poppy baguettes and thought cranberries with be a nice addition. Continued with the intentionally low profile elongated batard which yields more slightly smaller and more crusty slices.  I tried the staggered retard to get through this bake and was mostly successful but saw the dough acting less vigorously towards the last. bake.  Had they all been baked in the first round all would have been quite well with the world.  

CranPoppy Spelt

Makes 1 - 943 g loaf

Build 1 (12 hours)

2 Starter

20 Spelt

20 h20


build 2 (4 hours)

40 g  First Build

60 g  Freshly Milled Whole Spelt

36 g  H20



190 g  Strong Flour

10   g  Fresh Milled Whole Rye

220 g  Freshly Milled Whole Spelt

300 g  H20

25 g   Poppy Seed

12 g   Sea Salt

50 g   Cranberries


Autolyse Flours, Poppy Seed, and H20 for 2 hours

Add Levain and Salt and mix to combine.  

Develop to medium and then add cranberries and stir in on speed. 1

bulk Ferment 3 1/2 hours (4 S +_F) @ 30 minute intervals


Bake 480 Steam for 12 minutes

460 for 18-22 more.


Happy Baking



And the Bounty.  We got pickling cucumbers (my first small batch of half sours came out really go so I'm gonna make a bigger batch today), brocolli, walla walla and spring onions, goat feta, pluots, pears, asian pears, salad lettuce, local dried herb mix, some sugar snap peas.

bayoubakery's picture

reviving a neglected starter.

OK... I was bad. I got sent out of town for work and my starter languished in the fridge for 3 weeks.

For the last week I have been trying to revive it without much luck.

Have been discarding and feeding twice a day with equal weights of flour and water with no activity at all.
No bubbles at all. It has a nice odor. No streaks or discolorations. Just sits there like a nervous prom date.

Any suggestions to save it? Or did I kill "The Beast" as we call it here.

isand66's picture

Max's 100% Triple Levain Bread with Onions

  It's been a few weeks since my last post.  I've been very busy, traveling to Costa Rica on vacation which was amazing and upon my return we added another family member to our pack.  I am happy to introduce Max who is our new 9 month mixed breed puppy.


We had a great time in Costa Rica trekking through the rain forest and hanging out in the pool and in the ocean.  It's a beautiful country and worth visiting if you get the chance. 
Rain Forest in Costa Rica

To welcome Max into our lives I decided to name my latest experiment in his honor.  I have been wanting to try making a sourdough where all the flour comes from the levain so I decided to build 3 different starters and incorporate all of the flour and most of the water for the dough as part of the preferment's.I used mostly whole grain type flours and tried using a combination I though would create a nice nutty flavor.  I also couldn't help but add some barbecued onions in the mix since I love the flavor of onions in bread.

I let the dough over-proof slightly before placing the loaves in the oven which lead to a more flat loaf than I wanted, but the taste was fantastic with a nice moist open crumb full of flavor and more than enough sour to go around.






Mix ingredients in a bowl for each starter until thoroughly combined.  Cover the bowl and let it sit at room temperature for around 8 hours.  The starter should almost double when ready to proceed.  (I used my proofing box set at 83 degrees and the starter were ready to use after about 5 hours.)

 Main Dough

Mix the starter together in your bowl along with the salt, oil and water for 2 minutes.  Next mix the onions in and mix for another 4-5 minutes.  Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover.  Let it sit at room temperature or in my case at 80 degrees in my proofer for 1.5 to 2 hours.  Do a total of 3 stretch and folds or more if you like until the dough starts to come together and develop sufficient gluten strength.

Next place it in your bowl covered in your refrigerator over night for at least 12 hours.  Since this dough has so much levain you don't want to keep it in the refrigerator too long so I suggest no more than 12 hours.


The next day, take the bowl out of your refrigerator and let it come to room temperature for around 1.5 to 2 hours.  Form the dough into loaves or your preferred shape and let it rise for about 1.5 hours or more depending on your ambient temperature.


When the dough is ready to bake, score as desired and prepare your oven for baking with steam.



Set your oven for 500 degrees F. at least 45 minutes before ready to bake.  When ready to bake place the loaves into your on  your oven stone with steam and lower the temperature immediately to 450 degrees.   When the loaves are nice and brown and reached an internal temperature of 200 degrees F. you can remove it from the oven.

Let the loaves cool down for at least an 3 hours or so before eating as desired.


Max's Fortress of Solitude




Amazing Pool at Westin Resort
Swim-up Bar at Resort....Life is Good!
Costa Rican Lake Leading up to Volcano
It's Nice Being Green
thihal123's picture

Finally made my own sourdough starter, but disappointed with Reinhardt recipes...

After several tries of making my own sourdough starter, I FINALLY made it! Yay! My first attempt was using the River Cottage Bread book formula. That didn't work. I tried it a second time too and wasted another bag of flour. My third attempt was Reinhardt's formula in his whole grain bread book using rye and that didn't work. I tried again a fourth time with his instructions more carefully and using whole wheat this time. It worked! Yay! :)

I proceeded to choose a recipe from his whole grain book that use sourdough starter. I noticed that in all his recipes that use a sourdough starter, the final dough calls for a little bit of instant yeast. :-( Now that's disappointing.

Has any one tried making any of the Rienhardt whole grain recipes ignoring his call for 7g of instant yeast in the final dough?

Also, what whole grain bread formula using sourdough starter do you recommend?