The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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johannesenbergur's picture

Recycle rye recipe

This recipe is inspired by quite a few recipes I've read the past few months. In my opinion this makes an excellent rye loaf.


  • 300 g Cold water
  • 100 g 5-grain
  • 100 g Stale rye bread
  • 100 g Sourdough (click for my recipe)
  • 5 g Fresh active yeast
  • 10 g Sea salt
  • 200 g Whole rye flour
  • 200 g Graham flour
Pour the water into a bowl and dissolve the yeast. Put the grain mixture and the stale bread, which you have shreadded into tiny bits, into the water. Let it soak for 15 minutes or so.Add the sourdough and salt, mix. Start adding the flour, little by little to make it easier to get a smooth dough.Start kneading. The dough should be rather sticky and difficult to knead, unlike white breads. But you need to knead it for a while to heat up the dough and activate the yeast.Leave it to rise until doubled. I left it for 90 minutes and then I put it into the fridge over night. The next morning I took it out, shaped it into a loaf in a baking tin. Let it again rise to about double size. Just make sure it doesn't overrise and collapse on itself.Get your oven to max heat and place the loaf on the bottom shelf. Turn the heat down to 170 degrees celcius and bake for around 90 minutes, until it makes a hollow sound when you knock on the bottom.If you enjoyed the bread, repeat the process when it gets stale.
johannesenbergur's picture

My sourdough

Here's my take on sourdough, it as worked for me.


  • 3 dl Cold water
  • 75 g Rye flour
  • 75 g Graham flour
  • 150 g Wheat baking flour
  • A small handful of raisins
Put the raisins in a bowl with the water. Let them soak for about 15 minuts and take them out. Mix in the flour and put it in a glass jar. It's supposed to be rather watery, so don't worry about it not looking like dough.Cover the glass jar with a piece of regular kitchen paper, held by an elastic band. This allows the sourdough to breathe without attracting unwanted bugs.Stir the sourdough once every 8-24 hours. And once a day remove 50g and add 25g regular wheat baking flour and another 25g cold water and mix. After a few days you should be able to bake with sourdough.Continue the process for as long as you want to have sourdough.Every time you use some of it, add the same amount half and half of wheat flour and cold water to the sourdough. Depending on how much you use, your starter should be ready again in a few days.*Note: Mine did start so smell a bit like old milk after the first few days, but the smell went away and it started smelling like delightful yeast.
Hogboy's picture

Lazy Man's Bread Recipe

Hi, sometimes I make bread when I visit friends and this one is simple to remember.  It's also simple to make for newbies:


- 1 tablespoon each of yeast, molasses, and salt

- 5 cups warm water

- 12 cups flour (usually I use whole wheat mixed with a bit of white)

1. preheat oven to 170 F and put yeast, water, molasses mixture in for a few minutes (until it foams) - turn off oven

2. mix flour(s) and salt and then mush in the water/yeast/molasses mix

3. forget the kneading - that's just pure hard work!  Just mush it up with your fingers like you mix hamburger meat, maybe for 3-4 minutes

4. cover mixture and place in still-warm oven for 1 hour

5. pull out of oven, mush up again, and divide mixture into 4 oiled bread-baking pans

6. cover and back into the still-warm oven for another hour

7. pre-heat oven to 400 F and baste tops of loaves with oil (and maybe toppings like seeds or herbs) whilst you wait

8. pop in oven for 40 minutes (check at 35 to ensure things are OK - tap the bottom for a hollow sound)

9. eat and revel in the aroma - then give a still-warm one to a neighbour so they'll think you're awesome!!!

Variations: when you're mushing things up into the 4 loaves you can throw in stuff like trail mix, raisins, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, cheese, garlic, etc.





lizz1155's picture


I've had two attempts at making brioche so far (with two different recipes - one from Artisan Breads Everyday, the other the Ottolenghi Cookbook), but both attempts have turned out badly.   Both of the doughs "spread" during proving, resulting in some very flat rolls (and some indistinct knotted rolls).  Also they had a surprisingly greasy texture after they were baked, leaving an oily film on anything they came into contact with (not entirely sure this is normal).  Any advice on where I'm going wrong would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks in advance :)

Nailed's picture

No New Orleans French Bread 4 U !!!!!!

I just want to say thanks for all the efforts to clone a New Orleans Style French Bread,thos has been one of the hardest things that we had to get use-to after becoming a Katrina Transplant. No more of the "Very best Po-Boy Bread" on earth,where we come from Mamma used French Bread Soliders( U have 2 be a Local 2 know what FB Soldiers are) to wean us from de bottle.We have tried it all,N.O.water,rice flour,commercial flours,different blends of flours,different ovens,on & on& on...& it's still different!-Never like The Real Thing,Some real good bread but not The Great Po-Boy Bread of Home.We had gotten to the point and admitted that we would just have to settle for.....something else,this was fine,UNTIL we decided to open a New Orleans Style Po-Boy Shop & Catering Service out hear in Utah. I hate to just say "they will never know the difference" But I will! We to have the Muffalatta Bread down prefection...Po-Boys no-where even close. I think our next move will be to see if we can have un-baked bread shipped and see if that will help out.If anyone ever gets this right, I'll send you my 1st born,matter of fact I'll send All of Then 1st,2nd & 3rd, OK then just send me yours! Thanks Folks don't give-up it could just Save Someone Biz,or waistline.From the Land-of-PoBoy Detox,Big Blessings 2 U & Yours, Nailed(Robert)

rm1211's picture

Rubbery bread texture


I have been experimetning with sourdough for a wee while now and I feel I'm doing quite well.

I can now bake a bread that rises and has the crisp crust I'm looking for, it has a nice open crumb and good flavour.

However, the texture leaves something to be desired. I'm not sure how to describe it - it's slightly rubbery or spongy. Not unpleasant, but not quite right. The loaf is airy enough.

I've been experimenting with some factors and just wondered if anyone could point me in the right direction?

Could I be over or under kneading the dough? Could I be over or under proofing it?  

One clue that may or may not help - I checked it in the oven after about 25 mins and it appeared larger than when I took it out (ten/fifteen mins later). This may have just been my imagination.

The method I use (alternatives welcome) :

First I take 4oz of 100% hydrated starter and add to it 2oz flour and 1 oz water. I mix and leavfe on the counter overnight. This gives me a bubbly mixture in the morning to which  add 8oz flour, 4oz water, a hefty pinch of salt and a good glug of olive oil. I then mix and knead until smooth and elastic (by hand ten minutes - maybe fifteen). I place this in an oiled bowl and leave in the fridge overnight. I then remove from the fridge and gentle form (in this case into a boule). I don't have a proofing basket so I use a floured cloth in a colander (seems to work). I leave until the dough appears to have doubled in size (around 2 hours today). 

I then place onto a baking stone in a relatively hot oven (400 degrees), bit of ice in the bottom for steam and cook for around 40 minutes.

As above - the crust is crisp and perfect, the crumb is airy with large holes but the actual 'flesh' is a bit chewy/rubbery/spongy/something.

Any thoughts? I think it may be in the proofing stage but I am getting abit out of my depth.

Thanks for any help you can offer. 

varda's picture

how to choose fire clay for a bread oven dome

Last year I made a dome for my kiko denzer style bread oven using earth I dug up out of new garden areas.   I was able to bake all summer but ultimately there wasn't enough clay content and the dome slowly but surely crumbled.   This year, I would just like to bite the bullet and buy clay.   I found a local clay supplier but they sell dozens of varieties of clay and 7 that are labeled fire clay.   Before I call and start asking them questions, I would like to know what I should be looking for in a fire clay.   The supplier is called Portland Pottery.   Their fire clays are named Goldart, Hawthorne 40 mesh,  Hawthorne 50 mesh, Lincoln fire clay, Pyrax, Pyrotrol, XX Sagger.   Also, in their pictures, it looks like they are selling clay in big sacks, which makes it look like the clays are dry.   That seems good to me, since I will need to mix it up with sand and water and starting with dry clay seems like it would be easier.   Is anyone familiar with these clays and/or have any experience building a dome starting with dry clay?   Thanks so much.  -Varda

longhorn's picture

A Trip to Genzano and Forno a Legna da Sergio

Having made Pane Genzano and having found it to be a very interesting bread, I really wanted to experience the real thing on my recent trip to Italy with my wife. We had our hotel arrange a driver for us and rode went about twenty miles south from Rome to the town of Genzano. Since Pane Genzano pops up occasionally on this forum, it seemed appropriate to share my experiences.

We planned our destination to be Forno a Legna da Sergio, one of the bakeries featured in Dan Leader's book "Local Breads" in the section on Pane Genzano. For those not familiar with Pane Genzano, it is a huge, eight-pound sourdough loaf made from very wet (about 74% hydration) dough, coated with bran to solve sticking and baked very dark that has been made the same way in a wood burning ovens for many years. It is the only bread in Italy to have IGP (Indicazione Geografica Protetta) status. There are about a dozen bakeries in Genzano that make Pane Genzano and each has a devoted following. More on that later.

Here I am in my red Forno Bravo T-shirt and Sergio (the silver haired gentleman across the counter) in his shop.

Here is the bread rack with the Pane Genzano in the upper right.

A close up of the loaf and the label.

And a close up of our light dinner to show the crumb!

After visiting the bakery took our driver to lunch at Trattoria dei Cacciatore ( The food was outstanding - some of the best we had in Italy - and the house wine was excellent. A great deal! The bread served was clearly not Sergio's but in absence of good communcation ability I asked "Es Pane Genzano, No?" and the owner said "Si, es Pane Genzano!" So then I said, "Pane de Sergio?" and he said, "NO, NO, NO! Es impossible! No, Sergio! Must be Antichi!" This was, of course, accompanied by a generous acccompniment of arm waving and gesturing. And was what I had sort of expected! After lunch we wandered down the street to the Antichi bakery but alas, it was closed for lunch!

All in all we had a great adventure and a great day. Be warned, drivers are expensive. Ours cost about $200 and his English was pretty marginal. The end result was easily the most expensive bread I have ever bought.  And I was able to verify that my Pane Genzano - based on Leader's recipe - is a good representation of the original!  If you haven't tried Pane Genzano from Leader's book I highly recommend it! (It makes only about a 3 1/2 pound loaf instead of 8!)

One last aside! Genzano loaves are famous for their keeping abilities. We bought the loaf on a Monday morning and were to begin a week long cooking school on Saturday. We kept the loaf whole for three days. (Like many large loaves, the flavor is thought to improve for at least two days so this was planned.) Then we cut of just a bit for our light dinner and saved the rest for our cooking school companions as I was confident no one (even the instructor) would have had Pane Genzano before. Well, the bread made great bruschetta on Saturday and Sunday. And panzanella on Monday. And when the bag of bread got left behind on Wednesday, we used it for crostini. And finished it off as bread crumbs in stuffing ravioli. The giant loaf was extremely useful! And delicious!

Mebake's picture

Hamelman's Baguettes with Poolish

This is my second try at baguettes, my first was unworthy of a blog, it was overmixed, shaping was lousy, and crust and color were lacking. Now that iam getting the hang of it, i really love Poolish baguettes. The nutty fragrance of a poolish is indeed intoxicating.

I adhered to Hamelman's book instructions, including very moderate mixing times,  but my final proofing was 50 minutes instead of 1-1.5 hours (my kitchen was warm). I did bake boldly, and the baguettes came out crusty and cracked loudly out of the oven, but i admit.. i have left the baguettes for longer than called for 35 minutes without steam, and vented steam from the oven throughout the bake, which caused the crust to thicken, and the baguettes  crust to be extra thick and crumb to be drier than desired. This, however, was a good bake, a far cry from my first baguettes.

EDIT: I did infact stray from hamlman's folding regime. I folded once after 1 hour but found the dough truely undeveloped as the mixing was very brief. I folded the dough again after 20 minutes and then after 10 final minutes.



jefekefe's picture

Tartine To Cover or Not To Cover


I'm new to TFL.  What a great site!  Also, I'm trying my hand at Tartine bread for the first time.  After a long day following Chad's recipe to the T, I didn't see anything about covering the dough in its different stages, namely the bulk rise and the final rise.  One dough was left overnight for the bulk rise and had a slightly tough skin on it in the morning, and the others were placed in the frig for the final rise/retard until I bake this morning and came out with a tough skin.  Does anyone have any insight as to if the skin will affect the bread and if I was supposed to cover the dough in the different stages?  Thank you.

Also, if anyone else has a wood-fired oven, could you tell me if the Tartine recipe works in the oven.  I have built one in my backyard and have loved it for pizza and bread making, but am tinkering with the idea of working more on the bread side of things.  Again, thanks for any help!!!