The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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bobku's picture

Should I create a new starter

I have been baking with a starter that I made a few tears ago with great results. I have been reading about the Tartine method and was thinking of making a new starter. If I make a new starter won't I end up with a starter that is basically the same as what I have now ? Isn't  the bacteria and yeast  the  same from when I created one a few years ago. Should I just use the starter I have now and feed it as recommended in the Tartine method. Can you create different starters at home using different methods and end up with distinctively different starters? I was under the assumption that the starter I created at home would end up the same no matter what method I used

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

MW0CBC's picture

Electric cooker recommendation in the UK

My electric cooker, after 27 years, has finally died and I think it's time to replace it.  I live in a fairly remote spot and am not connected to mains gas.  I have thought about going down the bottled gas route but not entirely sure I want the hassle of that - although it would be nice to have a gas hob for using the wok and suchlike.

So, my question is do any folks on here have any recommendations on currently available cookers that have ovens which work well for baking bread?  Or, conversely, are there any models that don't bake well and which I should avoid? 

This is a very broad question I know but any views, suggestions etc would be most welcome.  As you will appreciate from the age of my failed appliance, I'm not really up to speed with the cooker market place just now.

Best wishes from Wales.



dsadowsk's picture

I have raised a heathen.

My son, home from college for the summer, had been chomping at the bit to try one of my BBA French Bread baguettes, but I wouldn't let him touch them until they had cooled. When one reached room temperature I gave him a piece, and then turned aside to do some cleaning.

Next thing I know I hear the sound of the microwave: yes, he had put my baby into the machine that turns good bread into gum, in order to melt some hard butter he had placed on the piece. 

I did not disown him, though I am trying to figure out what I did wrong in my childraising.

BTW, he now says he likes the non-microwaved ones a little better. Oy.

lstamatov's picture

Baguettes as hard as a brick

Hi guys,

I am not sure if I am posting this into the right category, but I didn't see baguettes labeled anywhere.

First, a little introduction. I have been successfully baking breads with my own sourdough starter for a year now and I am fairly advanced. Yet, when a few weeks ago I bought a baguette pan and tried making baguettes, they were a real disaster. Tried several times with different flowers and tried to increase the hydration a little bit but the result was the same - the bread crust is awfully hard that you can barely chew it.

Any suggestions as to what I might be doing wrong?


Abelbreadgallery's picture

Summertime bread

It’s summertime. We are on holidays. We’re staring at the sun and there’s no decent bread to buy near us. We will have to bake a bread, but we don’t have sourdough, we don’t have good quality flour. The oven in our beach apartment is very basic. Never mind. We want to eat real bread. We will get a soft crumb, crunchy crust, and neutral flavour bread that will fit with any kind of meal we have.


- 500 gr of bread flour

- 360 ml lukewarm water

- 10 gr salt

- 2 gr instant yeast or 6 gr fresh yeast.

- A wash tub

- A wooden spoon

- Eagerness

- Sunglasses, flip-flops, a towel, and sun lotion

09.00 h. Mix the flours and almost all the water. Let it rest 20-30 minutes. Add salt. Fold the dough 2-3 times until salt is integrated in the dough. Add yeast. Fold the dough 2-3 times until yeast is integrated in the dough. Add the rest of the water. It is a sticky dough, so we won’t knead, we will strecht and fold.

09.30 h. Put the dough into a wash tub. The dough will be resting between 4:30 and 5 hours, depending on the room temperature. We should strecht and fold the dough 2 or 3 times in the first 1:30 hours of fermentation. So at 11.00 h we could get the sunglasses, flip-flops, the towel, and the sun lotion, and go to the beach.

It’s between 14:00 and 14:30. Dust your proofing basket with flour. Shape into a ball. Place the seam side down in its proofing basket. Let it rest between 1 hour and 1 hour and ¼, depending on the room temperature.

15:30 h. Place the bread into the oven at 240C (465F). Bake it 15 minutes at 240 with some steam, then open the door, remove the moisture, and then reduce the heat 15C (60F) every 10 minutes. This bread should be baked in 50 minutes + 5 minutes into the oven switched off. The final temperature before you switch off the oven should be 180C (355F).

At 16.25 h. your bread is ready.

Have a nice holiday and enjoy bread wherever you go.

More info:

bringonthebread's picture

My First Sourdough Problem - Drying Out

I am making a sourdough loaf for the first time.  I am using cranbo's beginner's sourdough recipe from here.


I followed the instructions and it went off without a hitch until this morning.  Yesterday I put the dough in the refrigerator loosely covered in a flax linen couche that was set in a glass bowl.  I didn't use plastic wrap like I usually do.  Today, I take my dough out and I see the top of the dough has completely dried out .  The rest of it seems pretty elastic and normal--only the top has dried out.  Will the dry crust on top affect the dough's ability to rise?  Should I fix it and what should I do to fix it?    I still have 3-6 hours of waiting for the dough to rise so I'll report on what happens.  But, I'd appreciate anyone's help.

bayoubakery's picture

My first ever attempt at Ciabatta

I have been baking bread in loaf pans for years and have recently been branching out and trying other types of breads.
I have learned much by cruz'n around on TFL so thought I would show off a little. ;)

I welcome any comments or observations.

meadmakrmikey's picture

Sourdough stopped rising

I have a starter from King Arthur that I have maintained for about 10 months.  I have refreshed it intermittently, with equal parts of AP flour and bottled water, and a 1/2 -1 cup of starter.  It then sits at room temp for about 2 hours, and  I then refrigerate it, and bring it to room temp before the next feeding.  Bubbles form during the rise in temp from the refrigerator, but it BARELY rises, and this has been progressive for about 3 months.  The flavor is there, but it seems that the "yeast" part of the starter is gone.  Any suggestions?


ktz84's picture

Sourdough Starter - Plain Flour

I've been maintaining my sourdough starter with Plain Flour (All Purpose I believe is the US equivalent) and it works just as well as the Strong Bread Flour. It's a white starter. When I come to do the bulk starter for use in the bread I've always switched to the bread flour however I was wondering if the result would be affected by continuing to use Plain Flour for this also? Any thoughts?