The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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ibor's picture

The 5 Strand Delta Bread Braid


The Art of Braiding Bread"


Laviidan's picture

Bread Kneading Board


I just got my new Bread Kneading Board, it's made from maple wood.

I wounder what is the best oil to use for sealing it:

Flax oil

Olive oil

or ...?

trailrunner's picture

Lye bath sourdough bagels

I finally got around to purchasing a container of food grade lye . I had tried to find info on lye baths for bagels but there is very little out there and the percent of lye to water that was used seemed way off. I am glad that I pursued this and have some data that I hope will help others. I purchased the lye on Amazon  here . Will likely last me a good long while. I used 5 grams in 1 gallon of filtered tap water. This is approx. 12-12.5 % alkalinity. Baking soda is only 9 if fully saturated  so can't get the water where I wanted it to optimize the crust . I will  use a bit more next time and get it up to the full 14% that is possible if fully saturated. . I am VERY pleased with how these came out. I added the lye to the cold water and brought it to a boil. Just to be on the safe side ( my husband is a chemist and insisted) I wore goggles and had some vinegar in a dish off to the side to neutralize any splash on the skin. I had no problems. 

I bathed the bagels for 10 seconds on a side...lifted out and drained, replaced on the sheet pan dusted with semolina where they had retarded. I baked them as always in 400 degree oven approx 22 min. rotated pans at the 1/2. Formula I use is here. I used whey instead of water as I had a lot from my kefir cheese making. I also used half white and half rye starter. 

The crust is amazing. So crisp. Beautiful blisters and a nice glow to the crust. Perfect chewy crumb. Lovely fragrance. Any residue of lye is  hydrolyzed by the proteins in the bagel dough and is neutralized so you don't need to worry about rinsing the bagels after dipping. 

Here are some pics. 

note the difference in the boiled vs unboiled bagels:  photo IMG_6519_zps3c764110.jpg  photo IMG_6520_zps315e4861.jpg baked :  photo IMG_6522_zps1c08d5f1.jpg crumb ( small flaw from rolling/shaping )  photo IMG_6524_zpsc6a35858.jpg  photo IMG_6523_zps94d31ff3.jpg  photo IMG_6526_zps5b596f3d.jpg

qahtan's picture

with yogurt

Thought I would try some thing different yesterday made some bread in the Cuisinart. Used just over a cup of warm water then added a 100g Activia vanilla yogurt, 1 cup flour, the butter, sugar salt and yeast pulsed a couple times, and then enough flour to give me a nice dough, then pulsed a little more, then finished it it on the floured counter.. well the bread came out really really well. it gave me 1 loaf at one pound 2 ounces. and 4 rolls at 2 ounces each..

 has any one else put yogurt in their dough, I expect they have. ......... qahtan  didn,t take a picture,

CeciC's picture

Starter Rising too quickly?

I fed the start at 9PM yesterday with 1:5:5 ratio it doubled and collapsed in 10 hours at around 32C

Then i fed it again this morning at 7am with 1:10:10 starter: Flour: Water ratio, it doubled (see Pic) in 7hours at over 33C, is my starter raising too quickly? 

Once it doubled I have put it in the fridge wanting to use it on Saturday morning.

dabrownman's picture

Yeast Water 35% Whole Wheat Hamburger Thins and HD Buns

We have been trying out various versions of buns for hot dogs and hamburgers.   This time we went back to basics and looked for a whole wheat bun on the King Arthur website.  We found their 100% WW one for hot dogs and their white bread one for hamburgers.


Since we were going to do a 35% whole wheat one, we decided to combine the two, replace the sugar with honey, drop the commercial yeast and replace it with yeast water, up the hydration  to 75% and add some cream cheese to mix like Ian does on so many of his bun bakes.


We were needing to refresh the cherry YW anyway so did so, with only apples this time, and used the remainder to make a 1 stage, 100% hydration, levain over 300g that sat out at room temperature for 8 hours before we refrigerated it overnight after it had risen 75% in volume.


The next morning we let the YW levain finish its last 25% of rise on the counter.  When it had doubled we through everything together and did 5 minutes of slap and folds and then let the dough rest for 10 minutes before doing another 5 minutes of slap and folds.


After a 15 minute rest we did 2 sets of S&F’s on 15 minute intervals before allowing the dough to ferment on the counter for an hour.  We then pieced out the dough into (8) 110 g pieces and pre-shaped 4 of them into  hot dog buns and 4 into balls for hamburger thins.


10 minutes later we final shaped the buns putting the hot dog buns into a small Pyrex pan to proof and the hamburger thins on parchment on the top lid of the mini oven’s broiler pan.  The buns were allowed to proof for 5 hours on the counter.


The hot dog buns were brushed with an egg wash and were the first to go into the mini oven at 425 F after 8 minutes of baking the oven was turned down to 375 F convection this time.  After 8 minutes with the fan the hot dog buns were deemed done and the hamburger thins then received the identical treatment.


The buns blistered up like the mini usually seems to manage every time.  They were brown and shiny.  Wow!  These buns sprang 3 times their pre mini oven height!  Yes 3 times higher - only yeast water can do that according to my bread baking experience. These bins were very open, light, airy and moist – the buns we have ever manages to date.


Yes, there is some hotnpeppers, cheese adn bacon in those beef patties.

Today's lunch with that fine Taztzel and I bet there is some pastrami in there too!

 They were tasty too but not sour at all.  Lucy was especially happy that her sister, our daughter was accepted into PA school.  Yeah.  We are all so happy for her.  She requested tacos (Pibil, carnitas, grouper, chicken and carne asada) with guacamole, red and green hot sauces, pico de gillo, smoked pork necks in beans and Mexican green rice last night for dinner.

 Tonight she got hamburgers, caramelized onion, mushrooms and various hot peppers with sweet and regular grilled potato wedges.    She even liked the buns!  Congrats to Molly!



Yeast Water 35% Whole Wheat Hamburger Thins



Build 1



Whole Wheat




Yeast Water












Multigrain SD Levain




















Levain % of Total








Dough Flour








Dough Flour
















Dough Hydration








Total Flour




Water 158, Yeast Water 90




T. Dough Hydration




% Whole Grain Flour








Hydration w/ Adds




Total Weight








Add - Ins












Cream Cheese




Potato Flakes




VW Gluten













 A fine breakfast for the PA girl too!

theburgerboy's picture

Sourdough Starter

I have started making sourdough with my son with some starter given to us by a friend. The bread is fantastic.

We try to bake weekly. After baking we keep 1 cup of starter, add 1 cup flour and 1 cup water to it, mix it up and put it back in the fridge until next time.

A couple of questions for those more experienced than us:

1. Should we be doing anything else to take better care of our starter and/or improve the taste or the rise?

2. Recently we haven't been baking as often, so the starter has sat in the fridge for 3 or 4 weeks at a time without any attention from us. While it still tastes great, we have noticed that it sets off our carbon monoxide detector in our house while either baking or cooling on the counter (detector is about 20 feet away from our oven). Does that indicate a problem with our starter? Is it still safe to use and eat?

Thanks in advance!


Jimmy13's picture

How to count carbos in bread? Newbie baker wants to know.

Say I make a loaf of bread. If I read all the ingredients' packages and figure the carb count per cup of flour (and other ingredients) do I then have the carb count for the whole loaf of bread? Or does baking cause the chemistry to change and thereby add/subtract to the number of carbs in the loaf?

Allenph's picture

I got my scale.

A little while ago, I asked a question on hydration percentages in artisan bread, and was reminded that I needed to use weight instead of volume for my measurements. That night I went and ordered a scale on Amazon for less than $10. It arrived yesterday, and I made my first loaf.


400g Flour (All Purpose)

8g Salt (2%)

2 TSP Yeast

286g Water (67.5%)

You were all very right, weighing by weight made a massive difference. I realized after weighing my cups I added almost 100g of extra flour the last time. Anyways, the bread turned out great, and I successfully used that French kneading method I was waiting to try. I finally got that dough texture I was looking for. However, I still had a few issues. First, I raised until the dough was double...a little more than an hour. After that, I cut one 350g piece of dough (Which I believe is the weight of a traditional French baguette?) and had an additional hunk almost the same size. I let them raise for more than two hours, but I was disappointed when I cut into my bread and found the same tiny cell sizes I am used to. 

So, obviously, the first question I have is, how do I get the cell size to increase? The second question I have is about pans. I have been baking my bread on a cookie sheet. (Yes, how classy, I know.) Unfortunately, this makes for a very flat bottom, and it's far to stout to make a meter long baguette. I was quite pleasantly surprised when my dough started rising up instead of sideways in the oven, I suppose that is a sign that I have the correct hydration? Also, am I going  to have to buy a specialized pan or is there some trick I'm not aware of?  Oh, and before I forget, how is one supposed to keep the bread from sticking to the pan while remaining loyal to the four basic ingredients? I've been flouring the bottom of the pan, which helps a little, but the bread still sticks slightly. 

In addition, I am finding that my scoring does barely anything. I am cutting rather shallow cuts, around 1/8 of an inch deep, is that too little? I find that my bread simply has slits, rather than the nice blooming lips I'm after. 

As always, I appreciate any and all help given!


NanusT's picture

Problem with low sourdough percentage breads

I have tried now the third recipe from Hamelman's book (the first sourdough recipes), where the sourdough in the final dough is about 10%. Every time the dough doesn’t  rise at all. My starter is very active (can double itself in less than 8 hours) and every time I make breads with high sourdough percentage (about 40-50%) I get really good results. Also I don’t think the problem is with kneading either because I get good results for the same kneading (I use KA) with regular yeast or high sourdough percentage breads.

I have tried to read around and I didn’t find anyone with the same problem as me. On the contrary, I saw most of the people do get doubled in size dough after the bulk fermentation (about 2.5 hours). This frustrates me so much and I can't seem to understand what the problem is. I see many recipes with low sourdough percentage that calls for 8-12 hours of bulk fermentation (like Ken Forkish).

In my last try I saw nothing happened after 2.5 hours so I left it 2.5 hours more and it started to show good signs but I had plans so I shaped it, fermented it 3 hours outside and now they are waiting in the refrigerator which ill bake tomorrow morning. Next time I'll try to ferment it 8-12 hours and see what happens.

Does anyone have an idea what can it be? (The only thing I think of is that I'm not from the US and the wild yeast here is different?)