The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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PiPs's picture

B-Sides - From the cutting room kitchen floor - Part 3

Please welcome the B-sides Part 3 ...


joyfulbaker's picture

Mixing bagels in new mixer with thanks to all who helped me decide (read on!)

To all of you who helped me decide on a new mixer, thank you!  I did purchase the Bosch Universal from PHG, and I feel it was a good decision for my purposes (large amounts of bread/bagel dough).  I added the stainless bowl, a personal preference.  I "broke it in" by mixing a double batch of the ITJB bagel dough, that is for 24 bagels, and the Bosch came through with flying colors.  To be fair, I did increase the hydration to 55% from the 52% in the original recipe (which I used when I was testing the DLX, to be honest and fair).  I used 80% All Trumps, 20% Gold Medal bread flour, with a couple tsp. of VWG.  After shaping, I bagged them with white plastic garbage bags (blowing air into them so they don't stick to the dough) over the baking sheets, which have no sides and are used as peels, then put them in the fridge for an overnight fermentation.  Now for the camera shots (all but the crumb shot--sorry, but I was too busy chewing):

So you can see the new "big mixer" sitting there proudly, next to "little mixer" K/A Pro 6 (still going strong and doing much better with the spiral hook!)  Next is a shot of the prep, in order, R to L:  baking sheet lined with reused parchment, sprinkled with semolina (or rice) flour, boiling bath with barley malt syrup in the filtered water, 2 TBSP to about 3-4 quarts(?), then the ice water bath, which isn't difficult and cools them down quickly; replenished with ice as needed.  I was able to boil and chill 6 bagels at a time (handy when baking 24).  I placed a smooth cotton kitchen towel on a small cooling rack to hold the wet bagels.  Seeds are placed on salad size plates.  Baked on a stone preheated to 460, per ITJB recipe.  Although the pictures are not all in sequence, you can see the shaped bagels on the parchment lined baking sheet (new parchment on that one) and finally the finished bagels.  I usually mix 'em up, some plain, some with sesame, some with poppy and some with my own seed mix (B & W sesame, poppy, fennel, sunflower and flax, plus a little sea salt).  New trick I learned to keep the seeds from falling off:  brushing the tops of the unbaked, just boiled and cooled bagels with an egg-white/1 tsp water wash.  Also, I have learned there's no problem reusing parchment, even several times.   I'm gearing up to baking about 3 dozen bagels for a birthday brunch (mine) later this month!  Next will be the bialys . . .   Once again, thank you, TFL friends!


ehanner's picture

Non-GMO Foods

I contacted Bob's Red Mill this week to ask about their policy on selling Genetically Modified Foods (GMO). As you may know, Monsanto and other giants in the herbicide/seed/fertilizer industry have made a play to control the corn and soy markets. The have genetically modified for example, corn so that the worms that eat the corn will die after eating the roots or kernel.

It is estimated that 80% or more of the current corn crop is GMO. So it is highly likely that most of the food products made with a corn ingredient will contain this frankencorn. Understand that this is no longer corn. It looks like corn but it is not corn as our ancestors and their digestive systems evolved to consume. Yes, the blended feed made of corn and soy is also mostly GMO. Yep, the milk too.

Anyway, Bob's Red Mill tells me they have a policy of not sourcing any GMO foods. I will attach their response here.  I find it comforting that Bob's has taken this position and I plan on supporting them as much as possible. This GMO issue is a BIG DEAL. The state of California is about to pass a labeling law that will require a warning on the ingredients label if there are GMO ingredients. Everyone except the voters is trying to block this from passing. From what I hear, public support is around 80%, so it should pass. This will have an effect on every aspect of the commercial food business. I'm sure Kellogg's doesn't want to admit the Corn Flakes are made from genetically modified corn. And all that vegetable/corn oil, same thing. This is going to be a shock wave in America that will shake most food processors.

Those of us who enjoy real foods with identity-preserved DNA, and appreciate the value of Organic produce and grains should make a point of supporting companies that feel as we do.  This is a big issue. I suggest if you are concerned about your health and our food supply and want to learn more, Google GMO foods.


Hi Eric,

Thank you for your inquiry. Here at Bob’s Red Mill, we have made a commitment to purchase only non-GMO products. This means, that all of our products are made of ingredients that were grown from identity preserved, non-GMO seed. This will count only for commodities that are commercially altered: corn, soy, rice and flax (all other grains are still identity-preserved, non-GMO by nature and have not been genetically altered).

I will note that we do not guarantee the complete absence of genetic modification in our products because of wind drift, pollinators and our lack of testing equipment.

Best Regards,


Heather Johanesen

Bob's Red Mill Natural Foods

Customer Service

Frequent Flyer's picture
Frequent Flyer

Vichyssoise (Potato-Leek Soup) Bread

A favorite soup of mine makes a favorite bread of mine.



For Soup:

  • 1 tablespoon butter ( 15 g)
  • 1 leek ( white portion, chopped)
  • 1/4 medium onion ( chopped)
  • 1 potato ( 8 ounces, peeled and chopped)
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth ( low sodium) or 340 g water
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt ( 10 g – reduce for soup alone)
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream ( 28 g)
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream ( 28 g)

For Bread:

  • 5 1/4 cups flour ( 682 g unbleached all purpose - or 10% rye)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast ( 7 g)


  1. Cook leeks and onions in the butter until wilted and translucent.
  2. Add chopped potatoes, salt and water or broth. Simmer 20 - 40 minutes until potatoes are tender and remove from heat. Salt value is based on making bread.  For soup, adjust by taste.
  3. Puree using an immersion blender or in batches in a blender – carefully. A fine puree is not necessary for making the bread.
  4. Cool to 75 F and add the creams. For bread, pour into the mixing bowl.
  5. Add flour and top with the yeast. Mix well with wooden spoon or with a paddle attachment in a mixer. Once mixed, let rest 5 minutes.
  6. Knead by hand or using a dough hook for 8 minutes until smooth. While kneading, adjust liquids or flour to get a tacky but not sticky dough. Turn the dough out onto counter and stretch into a rectangle. Fold the dough letter-style, top downward, bottom upward, then the sides to the middle until a package is formed. Roll into a ball.
  7. Place in an oiled bowl or container hopefully with straight sides so that you can tell when the dough has doubled in size.
  8. After 20 minutes, do another strech and fold and return to bowl. It should take 40 to 45 minutes to double in size at 75°F
  9. Divide into two even portions and roll into cylinders and place each in oiled 8" x 4" loaf pans .
  10. While rising about 30 minutes to double in volume, heat oven to 375°F.
  11. Bake for 30 minutes until 190F – 200F internally and sounds hollow when thumped.



badmajon's picture

Cannot perfect the crumb... please critique my bread making process.

Hello all,

This is the bread I've been working on for 6 months. I've made it probably about 70-80 times, it tastes amazing, the crust is perfect, and it has a ton of oven spring. However I just can't get that nice open crumb I am searching for. So after many futile attempts I thought someone here might be kind enough to evaluate my technique and recipe and perhaps point me in the right direction.

400g Bread flour (80%)
100g Rye meal flour: (20%)
360g Water (72%)
1.25 tsp salt


1st build (1:4:4): 25g starter + 50g rye flour + 50g water (save all but 40g for next batch)/ 8 hours
2nd build (1:4:4): 40g starter + 80g rye flour + 80g water/8 hours

Starter ends up being 100g rye flour, 100g water

Then, I add the starter to 400g of white bread flour and 260g water. Comes out to 72% hydration.

Then I let rest for 2 minutes, and hand knead for 10 minutes. I let rest for 2 minutes, then knead for another 2 minutes.

One full rise (4 hours), then I stretch and fold, deflating and also redeveloping the gluten, then I put it in the fridge for 16 hours. The following afternoon, I take it out of the fridge, stretch and fold, then let it rise again (4 hours).

Finally, I do another stretch and fold, and then make a sort of package like shape with the dough and do the boule forming trick where you pull it towards yourself and keep repeating while rotating the dough. It gives it good surface tension.

Then I prepare my colander with a couche (heavily floured and oiled cut up cotton shirt) and let it proof for about 2 hours. I've found its better to slightly underproof this bread.

I bake it on a quarry tile at about 500f for about 22 minutes, rotating the boule at 10 minutes into the bake. I give it a good amount of steam for the first 3-4 minutes.

Ideas? Constructive criticism?

Anomalous's picture

Oak-smoked, malted, stoneground organic sourdough

This is a bit unusual. I saw smoked flour on the shelf of Waitrose in Kensington so had togive it a go. The flour is from Bacheldre watermill in Wales and is described as organic smoked stoneground malted blend flour. Their website says that malted wheat flakes are cold smoked over oak chippings for 18 hours in the smokehouse then mixed with organic stoneground malted blend flour. There's a gentle smoky aroma from the dry flour which becomes more assertive when it's wet.

I baked it as a sourdough made with a sponge (60g starter, 200g flour, 200g water) refrigerated overnight and left out for a couple of hours in the morning. Then I added 300g flour, 150g water, 12g salt (total 71% hydration), did a bit of stretching and folding, shaped it and let it prove at room temperature for a couple of hours or so then baked at 230°C for 20 minutes then 20 minutes at 185°C.

The result is less smoky than I expected, and the predominant flavour is still that of a malted loaf, but with a subtle, smoky background which adds interest and a distinctive character to the bread. It's certainly worth a try if you can get it, but apparently it's difficult to get it across the atlantic. I'll try it with a higher hydration next time.


Jaymo's picture

feeling very frustrated

I'm trying to make sourdough bread with Tartine's method, and I can't seem to get past the "make your leaven float" part. I've been maintaing a liquid starter for a month now, and a dry starter for a week, and I just can't even produce a leaven that will float, so I haven't even bothered to warm the oven yet. So lots of flour and water going into the recycling bin, lots of time spent trying to keep my  various colonies happy, and nary a loaf to even dislike. It's worse than bad bread. It's no bread. WTF do I do? I'm feeling exasperated. I've tried to track my leaven from start to finish, testing it regularly. It goes from sweet and floury to sour, seemingly without rising, and without every floting when put in a bowl of water. I fed my starter once a day for a while. Then I fed it twice a day. I've basically flushedd ten pounds of flour into my compost heap. Sweet.

I'm not a quitter, but I feel like I'm locked out of any gratification whatsoever from this bread thing. My garden is turning out lots of tasty treats. My cherry tree produced a dandy crop that's baking in the oven. We made the best home-made pasta-based lasagne you can imagine tonight.

But no bread for breakfast. Bummer. 

Maybe I should just put "Tartine Bread" in the shredder, and pretend I never looked into making bread.

shoshanna673's picture

Brioche Dough

Hi I'm new to this site from Adelaide, South Aussie.  Trying to find baked brioche here in Adelaide is almost impossible, so I am forced to make my own.  Have been using Michel Roux's recipe from his book Pastry, but am looking for even better recipes, which I know must be out there.  We are limited here in Adelaide in the selection of flours available for bread baking, so have been trying to source T45 flour.  Can have it sent to me from across the country at a cost of $22.50 (postage only).  Is it worth the cost to go ahead with this?  Thx for any help provided.

ssorllih's picture

Dinner rolls

Made a batch of dinner rolls for company tonight.

one pound of flour

one teasopoon table salt

one teaspoon instant yeast

edit to add: 1 tablespoon sugar

Combine one egg

six ounces of whole milk

water to make 68% hydration

two tablespoons of chicken fat or whatever.

Combine and autolyse for twenty minutes, knead lightly oil the dough and refrigerate over night. shape while still cold the next morning. Bake 375 20 minutes or less.


nadira2100's picture

Flax Country Pain au Levain

I decided to attempt Pain au Levain again, but this time with a few changes. 

1.) I added Flax meal, Corn meal, and Rye to make my own "Country" Pain au Levain. 

2.) I baked it as 1 huge boule instead of 2 smaller ones. 

3.) I proofed for 4 hrs BEFORE retarding in the fridge this time. 

4.) I had to significantly increase the baking time due to the size of the boule.

5.) I used the starter I had stored in the freezer because I managed to screw up the one I had going in the fridge. I refreshed it 2 times before using in this recipe. 

Ok, so now that I've stated the changes, let me say that this is the first time I've ever experimented with a loaf....and by that I mean alter the flour composition and types of flours used. I think this turned out better than my first loaves in that it's definitely prettier....but I'm not overly pleased with the crumb yet. The crust is also significantly better than my first attempt. 

The day before I mixed the dough, I cut my starter into 6 equal pieces (weighing a total of about 7oz). I kneaded in 1/3 c water with 4.5oz unbleached bread flour and let that develop for 4 hrs before refrigerating it overnight. 

The next day I made the final dough by cutting the starter into 6 equal pieces (about 11.5 - 12oz) with the flours, water and salt. Here are the percentages I used....

100% UnBleached Bread Flour (18 oz)

89% Water (16oz)

64% Starter (11.5 oz)

11% Rye (2oz)

11% Flax Meal (2oz)

11% Corn Meal (2oz)

1.7% Salt (0.3oz)

I hope I did my calculations right...please tell me if I didn't. The decimal demon still gives me problems every once in awhile. Ok...maybe all the time. 

I kneaded the dough and let it rise in a lightly oiled bowl for 3 hrs. It seemed to swell a little but I couldn't tell if it was a "flattening out" compared to a swelling. Before....


But either way I continued on to shaping. Before I made my boule, though, I did do a few stretch and folds to help with structure because the dough was soft and a little wetter than my first attempt. I was nervous and decided it wouldn't hurt. So then I made my boule and put it back in my clean glass bowl to proof. I let this go for 4 hrs....I had made this at night so when I went to bed at 10pm I set my alarm for 2am to stick it in the fridge. 

The next night, I turned my loaf onto a cookie sheet dusted with cornmeal and scored it, topped it with a little Flax meal and popped it in the oven.

I baked it at 475 degrees with a pan of hot water for 2 min., spritzed the oven and loaf with water and then lowered the temp to 450 for 30 min. At this point I could already tell I was a step closer to getting the loaf I want because of the oven spring (even if it wasn't as much as I would have liked to see it was still there). I kept increasing the baking time by 10 min. until the loaf registered 195 degrees. This took about 1hr 35 min.

I left it to cool until the next morning.

The crust was "crustier" and more crackly than last time (MUCH BETTER!) and the taste was great....I was able to get the mild flavor of sourdough with the nutty flax.

However, this bread is still pretty dense and I noticed it was more moist than the first loaves I made. A little more than I'd like. I'm guessing I should cut back on the hydration? As far as getting a softer/lighter crumb....should I let it proof longer? Add some instant yeast for added boost? Knead it longer? Make a better/more active starter even though when I was refreshing it, it tripled in volume within 8 hrs each time? I'm not sure what to do or what to try next so any suggestions would be very helpful!