The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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havefaith's picture

Hello from FL and Thank you

After reading everything I could on this site over the last week, yesterday was the day to bake my first loaf of SD bread. My starter was 9 days old & I was ready to go!  But then I found myself confused  about the different methods and came up against 'stiff' or 'wet' starter?  I read more and asked did I knead too much or too little, the dough was sticky & maybe I should slap and fold? It didn't took like it was rising enough - more reading about 'proofing'- too much too little?  and how should I try to bake - stone, with steam or without, baking sheet, how long. I realized I had read too much trying to take the best ideas and put them all together. I started at 10 am & it is was 8 pm. I decided I had to make some decisions and put the dough in my clay cooker and put it in the refrigerator.  This morning I took it out and realized I wouldn't learn how if I didn't try!  I left the dough alone to warm up and maybe rise. But after 4 hours it hadn't changed much at all.  I soaked the clay cooker lid, set the bottom part with the dough in some water for about 5 minutes, put on the top and put in a cold oven at 475.  After 50 minutes and an extra 5 to brown, my bread was done!  It was stuck and I was prepared to have bread crumbs. But it came loose and while it didn't look like SF SD it smelled pretty good!  My first loaf isn't beautiful, except to me, and I have much to learn but my reward was when I crunched into my first bite. How I've missed my SF SD and now I was tasting that great flavor again.  Thanks for all the help and learning once more there are a lot of ways to reach the end result if you just try!

cooltubnoac's picture

Need Help with this recipe...please.

HI All!

I've been making all of my family's bread for years and I'm still a rank amateur. I started with Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes then moved on to Floyd's Honey Whole Wheat bread and now am using a mix of recipes. Bottom line bread just isn't rising that much. I end up with a very tasty but very dense loaf and I'm not sure where I'm going wrong. I am trying to make a very high protein bread using heirloom wheat.

3 cups whole wheat (fresh milled eikhorn) flour - I used to use Turkey Red but they won't sell the berries and I like to grind my own

2.5 c water

1.5 c hemp seed

5 TBSP chia seed

Combine in mixing bowl and cover with damp towel for at least an hour then add in the rest below

3 TBSP melted butter

1/4 c honey

1 TBSP salt

1TBSP yeast in 1/4 c warm water with a dash of honey - once it has bloomed up to the top of the cup it is ready to be added

2 cups chopped walnuts

4-6 cups of whole wheat flour until dough isn't crazy sticky (I used to use weights but the recipe I found didn't and I just got away from it so now it's mostly just a "feel")

I use my DLX Electolux assistent to knead it for 5-10 minutes

form into a ball and place in a warmed clay bowl greased with coconut oil and covered with clingwrap until it rises ~ 2x initial size

Then turn out dough and cut dough in half and knead it once on each side to form into a loaf

Put into 2 greased loaf pans and cover with clingwrap. Wait 1-2 hours - it rises some but not a whole lot.

Poke holes in loaves with toothpick and put in 360 oven for 30 minutes


Any advice will be appreciated. I make this recipe every week to every other week so can fiddle with it over time.


mahonie's picture

Yet to have success!


I am determined to bake bread and rolls and am having so many problems.  Have tried bread machines, KA and making by hand and so far, nothing too tasty.

Recipes seem to go well until the second rise.  I have a JennAir oven with a proof feature that seems to work well.  At the end of the second rise they are beautiful until I remove them from the oven to preheat to baking time.  My oven takes more than a few minutes to heat up to baking temp and my dough always falls during this time.  I try to keep warm but our home is cold and I think the temperature change makes the dough fall.  The one reason I bought this oven was because of this feature!  I have always had a hard time getting dough to rise because our home is so cool so thought this would be a great solution.  I have also had the dough deflate while taking off the plastic wrap used to cover while rising.  Always so promising.......

If it is not going to be possible to use my oven proof feature anyone have any fool proof ideas to getting the dough to rise and stay risen while I am waiting for my oven?





BigelowBaker's picture

WFO vs Dutch Oven Baking?

I've been considering jumping in and building a WFO for a long time, however, logistically, it would be very difficult where I live. Over the past few months, though, I've really gotten into baking in Dutch ovens, and the results have been amazing.

So, I'm curious if there's anyone out there who's baked in both dutch ovens and WFO's and can speak to the differences/similarities in the quality of the loaves. I know WFO's are hands down better in terms of ability to bake in quantity and for things like pizzas, but for regular loaves, is there much of a difference from loaves baked in Dutch Ovens?

Here's a pic of some of my dutch oven results for comparison sake :)

CeciC's picture

YW and sourdough levain Longan and goji berries 5 grains bread

taking into DA's advise finally been able to bake a loaf with a moist and soft crumb. Adding the soak water of long an and goji berries give this bread a sweetness tang. 

Abelbreadgallery's picture

Whole Spelt braid with nuts, sultanas and maple syrup

An adaptation of the Half-whole braid recipe included in the book Pan Casero by Iban Yarza (Larousse).

I added more whole grain flour, in this case, spelt instead of regular wheat. I added maple syrup instead of honey and change the kind of nuts and dried fruits.

A rustic pastry to enjoy with friends and family.

chris319's picture

Which KA models have adjustable bowl height?

Does anyone know which KA mixers have adjustable bowl height? My non-tilt-head K5A does not. Do all tilt-head models have it?


Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

Whole Grain Poolish/Biga Formula

Looking for a formula that does not use a mature sourdough starter but instead a biga/poolish type of preferment, but also has whole grain flour or at the very least whole wheat flour.  I have looked through the site and can not really find much whole grain/whole wheat breads that use a non-sourdough starter preferment.  Maybe there's a reason for this?

Formulas with any of the following flours would be appreciated:

Spelt, Stone ground whole wheat, Whole wheat, Rye



Baker Frank's picture
Baker Frank

Adapting a recipe for overnight refrigerated fermentation

When adapting a recipe that calls for a bread to be baked the same day it is mixed to an overnight refrigerated slow fermentation method should I:

  • decrease the amount of yeast and if so, by what percentage?
  • refrigerate the mixed dough immediately after mixing?

Thank you for your comments,


Skibum's picture

YW Sweet levain boule, Forkish style

My first YW bake had amazing spring and crumb but was a little bland flavour wise, so I borrowed Josh's idea of using half YW levain and half of my sweet levain. I really like the flavour of my sweet levain and have sunk into a comfortable groove with it. I keep 75g sweet levain and every day or 2 use 50g to bake and refresh @ 1:1:1. I am going on 2 weeks now with a healthy fizzing yeast water culture and after another week after another refresh tomorrow and I can begin refrigerating it, I will try another 100% YW bake.

I proofed this in a SS wire mesh collander lined with 2 layers of well used linen, dusted with rice flour. I didn't score this time as it looked like the seams would open.

I try very hard in my shaping to ensure I get a tight seam and pinch my seams tight. I also try and get a tight skin on the loaf, gently shaping with my hands ans pulling the loaf across the counter while rotating with my little fingers. Richard Bertinet has an excellent youtube video demonstrating this. Despite my best efforts the seams were already coming apart after proofing.

And despite my best shaping and dough handling efforts I still have the 'hole where the baker sleeps.'

Total flour 300 grams

Total water 231 grams 77% hydration

YW levain 25 grams

Sweet levain 25 grams

Coarse sea salt 8 grams, 1 tsp

Thirty minutes autolyse with 90 degree water, filtered and absolutely de-chloriated. Mix in Levains @ a dough temperature of 78 - 80 degrees F. Rest 20 minutes, with salt on top. Mix well, rest 5, then mix again and rest 20 minutes. Four sets of S&F's with 10-15 minutes rest and a final fold after another 30 minutes. I retarded in the fridge immediately and let it finish bulk proofing for about 6 hours the next day after removing from the fridge, pre-shaped, rested for 10 then shaped, proofed as described above for 40 minutes and baked @ 500F in hot Lodge cast iron combo cooker.

I had a real 'skibum' moment yesterday. Two days ago, I had mixed a sweet levain dough enriched with all milk, egg and lots of butter. My plan was to bake off pull apart dinner rolls. Anyhow, yesterday when it came time to pre shape and shape I had my 'skibum' moment. I had forgoten thta I was making dinner rolls and shaped up another Forkish style boule.. The enriched dough baked too hot and too fast and despite being nearly blackened on the outside, not cooked on the inside and of course I didn't bother to check the internal temperature. Definitely a skibum moment. Some would say senior moment . . . So now, rather than just writing out a list of ingredients I am adding SHAPING AND BAKING INSTRUCTIONS DUMB SKIBUM! This is the prettiest loaf I have ever had to throw straight into the trash! :-(